A Jewish teacher who molested four boys at Chabad's Melbourne’s Yeshivah College over 20 years ago has been sentenced to three years and four months in jail. But David Kramer, 52, could be out of jail in 100 days. He was sentenced to a non-parole period of 18 months but has already served 457 days in pre-sentence detention.
The Age reports:
A Jewish teacher who molested four boys at Melbourne’s Yeshivah College over 20 years ago has been sentenced to three years and four months in jail.
But David Kramer, 52, could be out of jail in 100 days. He was sentenced to a non-parole period of 18 months but has already served 457 days in pre-sentence detention.
Kramer was sentenced in Melbourne's County Court by Judge Michael Bourke on five counts of indecent assault and one of indecent acts against a child under 16.
Outside the court, Jewish child sexual abuse survivor and advocate Manny Waks said the sentence was "a little bit lower than we anticipated but justice has been served."Advertisement
The fact that Kramer could be out of jail in 100 days "will take us a little bit of time to digest...it caught us a little off guard."
Mr Waks was scathing about Yeshivah College’s role in the abuse of the boys. "All they did from the beginning was care about the perpetrator. At no stage did they care about the victim," he said.
"We call on Yeshivah to apologise today to the victims for their pain and for sending the perpetrator overseas."
Mr Waks said he was close contact with two of the victims of Mr Kramer. He said the victims had been "reliving the trauma...I know the pain and the suffering that they have endured."
He said it was "outrageous and immoral" that Yeshivah knew about the abuse at the time but did not inform police.
Kramer committed the offences between 1989 and 1992, said Judge Bourke. He then left Australia, living in Israel before moving to Missouri in the United States.
In 2008, the court heard, he was sentenced to seven years’ jail with a four-and-a-half year minimum for child sex offences committed in the United States, where he masturbated the child of a family friend to orgasm. Kramer was not working as a teacher but was instead employed in an office.
In December 2011 he was charged by Victoria Police for the Yeshivah College offences and then extradited to Australia in November last year.
Judge Bourke said that Kramer's guilty plea to the charges "faciliated the interests of justice" and spared the victims the "trauma" of recounting their experiences in court. He also said Kramer had "developed a level of remorse".
In his sentencing remarks, Judge Bourke said that Kramer was a "well-liked and respected" member of staff when he worked at Yeshivah and the students had called him "rabbi" as a mark of respect even though he was not formally ordained as a rabbi.
All the victims were aged either 10 or 11 and Kramer abused them by fondling their genitals through their clothing, the judge said.
The abuse came to light in 1992 when the victim began to discuss the abuse among themselves. However, said the judge, Kramer fiercely protested his innocence in the matter.
"I had my self-confidence shattered," said one victim in his victim impact statement. "I have a certain bitterness and cynicism." Another needed counselling and psychotherapy, said the judge. "His life has been badly affected."
He said Kramer, the youngest of four children, grew up in the New York borough of Brooklyn before moving to Jerusalem at the age of 11 with his family. But before moving, he was sexually assaulted by a family friend, said the judge.
Kramer's ex-wife and 11 children – aged between 15 and 30 – are currently living in Israel, the court heard.
The judge said that Kramer met the criteria for paedophilia but had shown "appropriate remorse" and "victim empathy". Kramer intended to return to Israel upon release, the court heard. He intended to fully self-disclose his condition to others when living in Israel.
In his final comments, Judge Bourke said that Kramer had shown a "serious and unforgivable betrayal of children's trust" but that "I accept you have shown some remorse ... I see you as capable of rehabilitation."
He admitted the sentence "does not meet the expectations of those hurt" and said he felt "great personal sympathy" for the victims.
He is a repeat pedophile with multiple victims on at least two continents who literally destroyed the lives of children, and there is no reason he should be trusted.
Not only that, to allow Kramer to self-report when he goes to Israel is obscene.
This judge could have mandated public reporting there – through police notification and a few well-placed newspaper ads, for example – as a condition of Kramer's sentence.
Instead, this poorly trained judge is relying on Kramer's 'honesty.'
As long as judges are this poorly informed about the trauma of child sexual abuse and the pathology of its perpetrators, and as long as they show this lack of concern for future victims, these types of ridiculous sentences will, very sadly, continue.
[Hat Tips: Aussie, BeenThereDoneThat.]
Update 1:47 am CDT – Here is a statement on the Kramer sentencing from the Australian Jewish victims advocacy organization Tzedek:
Tzedek responds to Kramer sentencing
24 July 2013
Convicted paedophile Rabbi David Kramer was today sentenced to a jail term of three years and four months for the sexual crimes that he committed against several innocent children whilst he was a teacher at Melbourne’s Yeshivah Centre. Kramer was sentenced to a non-parole period of 18 months imprisonment. He has already served 457 days in pre-sentence detention. Potentially he will only serve another 3 months in jail.
Prior to the sentencing, one of the US-based victims requested to (belatedly) submit a Victim Impact Statement. We are thankful that the judge agreed to this request. The victim requested that Tzedek CEO Manny Waks read the statement on his behalf, which he did with great difficulty.
Tzedek CEO Manny Waks issued the following statement :
“Today is another important milestone for the Australian Jewish community. Justice has finally been served.
“We must acknowledge and thank the courageous victims in standing up to these heinous crimes that were committed against them when they were most vulnerable – as innocent children.
“We must also thank the relevant agencies involved in pursuing this case. We hope that this sends out a strong message to other perpetrators – you will be pursued irrespective of when you committed the crimes. Hopefully it will also encourage other victims of child sexual abuse within the Jewish community to seek justice for crimes that were committed against them.
“We are grateful that the judge accepted the belated request of one of the victims to have his Victim Impact Statement read out in court. On a personal level, I was humbled that the courageous victim, whom I’m very close to, asked me to read the statement on his behalf. This was an extremely difficult and confronting experience. It is no surprise that the victim was initially reluctant to submit it, and no wonder I broke down on several occasions while reading it. Its content demonstrates some of the long-term impact of child sexual abuse.
“This case once again highlights Yeshivah’s culpability in the matter. When the allegations were brought to their attention they were reluctant to deal with it due to their concerns for the welfare of the perpetrator. They could not care less about the welfare of his victims. At no stage has Yeshivah offered genuine support to any of the victims that I’m in contact with – not then and not even now. The only reason they acted was due to pressure by parents, who were not in a position to take action that was contrary to that of the institution due to the consequences of doing so. And when they did act Yeshivah simply sent Kramer overseas where he re-offended. As the US victim’s spokesperson said, from the family’s perspective Yeshivah has blood on its hands.
“We strongly believe that Yeshivah must be held to full account. We intend to do this through the Royal Commission process. In the meantime, now that some of the facts have been confirmed, Yeshivah must issue an unequivocal apology to all the victims – not about the abuse that “may have occurred” (as per their previous pseudo-apology) but rather about the abuse and cover-up that did in fact occur. This would be a welcome first step.”
Upon learning of the sentence, one of the victims said:
“I am saddened that this monster only received a fraction of what he deserves. He can never repay what he has stolen from me and so many other innocent kids. It further saddens me than only a few of MANY victims came forward. I am sure they are internally suffering as I have over so many years. I implore them to go seek help.
“I congratulate the police, Prosecutor and Victorian Government on their tremendous effort in extraditing this excuse for a human being to stand trial and for prosecuting him. I pray and hope that this will indeed bring me some sort of closure and a continuing recovery.
“The actions (in shipping Kramer overseas) of those that were responsible for my well-being some 20 years ago repulses me. It is even more repulsive to me that the same people are covering up these and other abuses TODAY!
“I congratulate and commend Manny Waks for his effort to combat this serious issue. He has been a personal inspiration during these difficult times.”