Rabbi Jordan "Yaakov" E. Murray, a teacher at the Torah Day School in Seattle who was allegedly hired by the school without a background check at the personal recommendation of a prominent haredi rabbi, told a Washington State judge late last month that he is innocent of child sex abuse charges – even though he pleaded guilty to those charges last year. But despite his open failure to accept responsibility for his crimes, Murray got a no-prison sentence anyway.
Above: Rabbi Jordan E. Murray
Haredi Rabbi Gets No-Prison Sentence In Child Sex Abuse Plea Deal
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Rabbi Jordan "Yaakov" E. Murray, a teacher at the Torah Day School in Seattle who was allegedly hired by the school without a background check at the personal recommendation of a prominent haredi rabbi, told a Washington State judge late last month that he is innocent of child sex abuse charges – even though he pleaded guilty to those charges last year, the Jewish Sound reported.
Murray called the haredi day school where he taught 1st and 2nd grade his “a second home,” and insisted on his innocence as his wife sat nearby in a show of support.
“Although I’m not guilty of the crimes I was charged with, I understand how the accusation of sexual abuse happens. Jewish communities are very close-knit…. When allegations of this magnitude occur in such an intimate community it puts a tremendous strain on their social environment. I hope and pray that everything that has transpired in the past year will not affect the persons associated with these allegations,” Murray read aloud from his prepared pre-sentencing statement.
Judge Laura Gene Middaugh immediately asked Murray if h has children of his own.
He responded that he has three – two boys, one 8 and the other 6, and a 2-year-old girl.
Murray was arrested in May 2013. At the time, his wife and children lived in the haredi community in the suburbs of Minneapolis, Minnesota, where Murray was raised.
But Murray has been living with them all for much of the time since his arrest.
“Let me be clear. You are guilty of these crimes. You are guilty of these offenses,” Middaugh said to Murray.
Then Middaugh reportedly turned and spoke to Murray’s attorney.
“I’m concerned that he comes before me today insisting that he’s not guilty. He comes before me as a guilty person,” Middaugh said.
But despite Murray’s clear lack of acceptance of his own guilt, Middaugh immediately sentenced Murray, who had no prior criminal record, to a no-prison sentence – 36 months of electronic GPS-monitored home supervision and probation; a mandatory sexual deviancy evaluation; a court order to have no unsupervised contact with minor children, including his own; and registration as a sex offender for 10 years. She suspended the two 364-day prison consecutive sentences the law called for and credited Murray for the brief time served in jail after his arrest while trying to post bail, and said she didn’t think “it was necessary” for Murray to serve any significant prison time.
Murray was originally charged with seven counts of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes in his classroom and pleaded guilty two of those counts in February of this year in plea bargain.
He plans to move out back to Minnesota with his wife and children.
At first, the Washington Department of Corrections will manage Murray’s probation, employment, and living arrangements. Minnesota will take that over once Murray is cleared by Washington State to move there.
Hugh Barber, a senior deputy prosecutor in the King County (Seattle area), Washington Special Assault Unit, said he was happy with the sentence Murray got.
“I’m happy with it, but it’s unfortunate that he didn’t take this opportunity to take some responsibility. I learned a lot about the Orthodox community. This had a significant impact on that small community and I hope that they will heal,” Barber said.
Even Murray’s own attorney was happy with the sentence.
“While I may disagree with the imposition of a no-contact order pertaining to Mr. Murray’s own children, I can understand and appreciate the cautiousness underlying this order temporarily prohibiting such contact. Overall, I am happy with the sentence imposed by Judge Middaugh which was both fair and reasonable under the circumstances. Judge Middaugh’s approach was careful and care should certainly be taken when the safety of children is at issue,” Cassandra Stamm reportedly said.
The Jewish Sound did not report whether or not the victims’ families agreed to Murray’s no-prison sentence or if victims’ impact statements from them had been heard by the court.
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