Rabbi Ephraim Karp, director of spiritual living at Menorah Park Center for Senior Living in Beachwood, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, was arrested in New York Jan. 15 on an active felony warrant from Maryland.
According to the Queens, N.Y., district attorney’s office, Karp has been charged by the state of Maryland with perverted practice, sex offense, sex abuse of a minor and sex abuse. He is listed in court records as Frederick M. Karp, and a release from the Baltimore County Police Department linked the charges to the alleged abuse of a juvenile female over a period of time.
Karp, 50, was arrested at 9:25 p.m. Jan. 15 at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York as “a fugitive from justice” on the warrant issued by the District Court of Maryland, Baltimore County, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department.
He was arraigned Jan. 16 in Queens Criminal Court and will likely be extradited to Maryland, said Ikimulisa Livingston, spokeswoman for the Queens district attorney’s office. As of Jan. 21, he was in custody at the Anna M. Kross Correctional Facility in East Elmhurst, N.Y., according to the New York Department of Correction website. Public records were not available from Baltimore County referencing the case.
Karp is president of Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains, formerly known as the National Association of Jewish Chaplains, and was en route to the annual NAJC conference in Jerusalem at the time of his arrest, a spokesperson for Menorah Park said. The conference is set for Jan. 26 to Jan. 29.
In June 2013, the organization’s national board, which includes Karp, was at the Pearlstone Center in Reisterstown for a conference.
In a statement, however, Baltimore County Police said there was no evidence that any incidents of abuse occurred at any local Jewish facilities.
Steven R. Raichilson, executive director at Menorah Park, issued this statement Jan. 21: “[On Jan. 20] we learned that Rabbi Ephraim Karp has been charged in Baltimore County, Md., with a series of offenses accusing him of sex abuse that allegedly took place in Maryland. We do not have further details regarding the charges, but we continue to be assured by local authorities that there is no connection between these charges and Rabbi Karp’s work for Menorah Park.
“We were tremendously saddened by this development. Rabbi Karp joined us seven years ago with solid recommendations,” he continued. “We conducted a thorough background check, and no issues or concerns surfaced during that process.”
Beachwood Police Chief Keith Winebrenner confirmed that police from Baltimore County came to Beachwood on Jan. 15 looking for Karp but said he could not provide any more details.
“I know he was arrested in New York, but I don’t know what he was arrested for or if he has been charged with anything,” Winebrenner said. “It’s still under investigation.”
Karp, of Beachwood, came to Menorah Park in 2008. He is one of two full-time Orthodox rabbis in the nursing home’s spiritual living department.
Before coming to Menorah Park, he 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’s degree in social work in international and community development at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, N.J.
Queens County records show that, at the time of his arrest, Karp was aware of the incident in question and had been in contact with a lawyer and the Baltimore police. He awaits extradition to Maryland.
Ed Wittenberg writes for the Cleveland Jewish News.