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.
Baltimore County Circuit Court Judge Robert E. Cahill Jr. sentenced Karp to 35 years, with all but 22 suspended.
Karp, 51, is former director of spiritual living at the Menorah Park Center for Senior Living in Beachwood, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland.
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, 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 over 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.
A criminal trial for Karp had been scheduled for Oct. 28.
Karp was indicted Feb. 23 by the State’s Attorney’s Office for Baltimore County 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, 51, was arrested on 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.
Karp was president of Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains until being suspended from that position in January. At the time of his arrest, he was headed to Jerusalem for to the NAJC annual conference.
In 2013, the organization’s national board, which included Karp, was at the Pearlstone Center in Reisterstown for a conference. Baltimore County police said there was no evidence that any incidents of abuse occurred at any local Jewish facilities in the Karp case.
His employment status at Menorah Park was terminated this summer.
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 of Social Work in international and community development at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, N.J.
Ed Wittenberg writes for the Cleveland Jewish News.
Marc Shapiro contributed to this report.