David Kramer, the convicted pedophile extradited last year from the US to Australia to face charges of sexually abusing children at Chabad's Yeshivah College in Melbourne, pleaded guilty today.
My sources tell me Kramer was pressured and bribed by Chabad to plead guilty, not to bring closure to the victims, but to keep him off the witness stand at trial, and to keep Chabad leaders off that same witness stand.
Because, as I reported a few days ago when I broke the story of the plea deal, what Kramer has to say is very embarrassing for Chabad and could even lead to further criminal charges against Chabad leaders, and what Chabad leaders would have to say at trial – if they told the truth – would be extremely incriminating for them personally and for Chabad.
Among the things the court would have heard is that Chabad of Australia's late leader, Rabbi Yitzchok Dovid Groner, knowingly helped Kramer flee Australia.
Kramer was allowed to plead guilty to five counts of indecent assault and one count of committing an indecent act with or in the presence of a child under 16. Six of the original 12 charges were withdrawn as part of the plea deal.
The fact that Kramer pleaded guilty to so many charges indicates, I believe, that the police and prosecutors were not behind the deal and did not encourage it.
Tzedek CEO Manny Waks, the lead victim in the ongoing Chabad child sexual abuse scandal, issued the following statement after Kramer's plea was entered:
“Today’s development is an important milestone for the many victims and a watershed moment for the Australian Jewish community. David Kramer is the first perpetrator to be held accountable for his crimes against innocent children since this scandal broke in mid-2011 and the first within a Jewish institution as an employee.
Today’s developments will send out a strong message to our community; you will be brought to justice irrespective of how far back you committed these crimes. There is no immunity. Hopefully it will encourage some of his many other alleged victims to come forward – indeed, hopefully it will also encourage victims of other perpetrators within our community to seek justice for the abuse they endured.
We also hope that there is a similarly swift resolution in the other child sexual cases that are currently underway.
The victims whom I’ve spoken to are delighted with this outcome and feel a great sense of relief. Justice is finally being served – the perpetrator is finally being held to account. We hope and trust that he will get the sentence he deserves. I hope that once he is sentenced it will bring an element of closure to the brave victims who ensured justice is achieved. I call upon all the other alleged victims to try to muster the courage to hold him to account for the crimes he committed against them. For that matter, I encourage anyone who has been a victim of child sexual abuse to go to the police so that they too can achieve justice. Tzedek would be happy to assist in any way that we can.
It’s truly amazing when you consider the fact that there are now multiple cases and investigations into numerous perpetrators within the Jewish community, with many victims in multiple cities in Australia – not just relating to the abuse itself but also to the cover-ups. It is particularly sad that this mainly involves the fervently Orthodox community.
The Jewish community must stand up to this scourge and respond in an unequivocal manner. We must say: Enough! No more silence.”
UPDATE 11:36 am CDT – The Herald Sun adds this key fact:
…Before he entered his plea Magistrate Amanda Chambers asked Kramer if he was certain of his decision.
“There's no problem, there's no pressure at all and everything is alright,” Kramer said via a video-link from a prison.
A prosecutor had told the magistrate that information had been received that Kramer may have been put under some pressure from a third party to enter his plea.…[emphasis added]