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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

David Kramer jailed for sexual assaults

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."

The fact that Kramer could be out of jail in 100 days "will take us a little bit of time to 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.

Read more at: Theage

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