Cleveland Jewish news ED WITTENBERG | STAFF REPORTER
Rabbi Ephraim (Frederick) Karp was sentenced to 22 years in prison, and five years of supervised probation upon his release, after pleading guilty to sexual abuse of a minor and a third-degree sex offense Oct. 15 in Baltimore County Circuit Court in Towson, Md.
Baltimore County Circuit Court Judge Robert E. Cahill Jr. sentenced Karp to 35 years with
13 years suspended. Karp will also be registered as a Tier III sex offender for life, according to the Baltimore County Circuit Court website.
Karp, 51, is former director of spiritual living at Menorah Park Center for Senior Living in Beachwood.
As part of the plea agreement, the Baltimore County prosecutor agreed to drop 11 other charges against Karp: three second-degree sex offenses, five third-degree sex offenses, two second-degree assaults and one of sex abuse of a minor.
Baltimore County Prosecutor Lisa Dever, chief of the sex offense and child abuse division in the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office, said the state was asking for a 35-year sentence for Karp – the maximum he could have received – with all but five to be served in prison.
“We believed he deserved to go to prison for 30 years, based on the fact that two of the three victims in this case were under 18 at the time the events occurred,” Dever said. “But I feel based on the information that the judge had heard from both the defense and the state, the sentences are reasonable sentences.”
Dever said the third victim was 18 or older at the time of the events. She said all three victims were females, but she would not disclose their ages.
Dever said the plea included charges from Cleveland based on events that allegedly occurred at Karp’s home in Beachwood. She said all three victims lived in Baltimore County at the time of the events.
“Cleveland agreed we could take the lead on the prosecution and that we would encompass their events in our plea,” she said.
Beachwood Police Chief Keith Winebrenner said the Cuyahoga County prosecutor incorporated the charges from Beachwood into the Baltimore County case.
“The sentencing reflects the incidents that happened in Beachwood,” said Winebrenner, who had no further comment.
Joe Frolik, spokesman for the Cuyahoga County prosecutor’s office, said Karp was never indicted in the county.
“Our prosecutors were in contact with their counterparts in Baltimore (County) and agreed to allow Maryland to incorporate allegations of sexual abuse against the victims that occurred here for sentencing purposes,” Frolik said in an email. “Apparently he abused the young women when they would visit him (in Beachwood), as well as when he was in Maryland.”
Marc Zayon, Karp’s Baltimore-based attorney, did not return calls seeking comment.
A criminal trial for Karp had been scheduled for Oct. 28.
Dever said she wasn’t sure which prison Karp would be sent to. He was to be sent to a diagnostic center in Baltimore for 30 days, after which the prison will be determined, she said. The Baltimore County Department of Corrections encompasses 10 to 12 different prisons in Maryland, and it will be one of those, she said.
Through his probation, Karp will be supervised under Maryland’s Collaborative Offender Management and Enforced Treatment program and must comply with all conditions of COMET supervision, according to the Baltimore County Circuit Court website. He also is to have no contact with the victims, the website states.
Karp, 51, was indicted
Feb. 23 by Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office on charges of sexual abuse of a minor; continuing course of conduct; perverted practice; and second- and third-degree sex offenses. The state’s attorney’s office reported in January that from
July 4, 2009 to Dec. 10, 2014, Karp visited a family that he was friendly with in Baltimore County. During those visits, Karp sexually assaulted a minor female, the office stated.
Karp was president of Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains until he was suspended from that position in January. His employment at Menorah Park was terminated this summer.
Before coming to Menorah Park, Karp was community chaplain for seven years for the Jewish Federation of Monmouth County in New Jersey, where he founded its joint chaplaincy program.
Karp, who grew up on Long Island, N.Y., was ordained at the Ayshel Avraham Rabbinical Seminary in Spring Valley, N.Y., in 1998. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and a Master of Social Work in international and community development at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, N.J.
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