By Andrew Scott (Pocono Record)
February 26, 2014
A Smithfield Township boys' summer camp counselor was sentenced Tuesday to five to 23 months in Monroe County Correctional Facility after pleading guilty to sexually molesting a 12-year-old boy at the camp in July.
"Thank God," said the boy's father, leaning against the courtroom wall after County Court Judge Jon Mark sentenced Camp Dora Golding counselor Chisdai Ben-Porat, 19, of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Moments prior to sentencing, defense attorneys Jason Leon and Ken Gribetz, along with Ben-Porat's parents, asked the court for leniency.
Calling him an "exceptional (college) student and loving brother and son" with no prior criminal record, Gribetz said Ben-Porat has a disorder causing sexual attraction to children, adding that the state Sexual Offender Assessment Board has not deemed Ben-Porat a sexually violent predator.
"There's no question about the recognition of guilt here," said Ben-Porat's father. "Our son is already tormented by the guilt he feels over this crime. Putting him in jail does not allow him to contribute to society."
Ben-Porat's mother begged the court to "hear his contrition, acknowledge his remorse and consider all that he's accomplished."
"I'm extremely sorry," Ben-Porat himself said. "I apologize from the bottom of my heart to the victim's family, as well as my own. I'm in therapy and working to come to grips with my problem."
Now suing the camp for allowing the Rockland County, N.Y., victim to be put in such a situation, the victim's father was not swayed by Ben-Porat's apology.
"He's not the holy boy he pretends to be," the victim's father said. "The last thing he showed me (as police escorted Ben-Porat from his September district court preliminary hearing in Marshalls Creek) was his middle finger.
"My son videotaped him doing this to another child (in the cabin where the boys' beds were) before he came over and did it to my son," he said. "The District Attorney's Office knows about this videotape. Why haven't the authorities looked into whether he has done this to other children? After serving his sentence, he'll return to Canada (in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody over a student visa issue). Who'll bring him back to answer for any crimes against other children?"
Declining to comment on this, Assistant District Attorney Michael Rakaczewski focused just on this case.
"Though the defendant has not been deemed a sexually violent predator, he did engage in predatory behavior," Rakaczewski said. "He knows he has this disorder causing him to be attracted to children, yet takes a job at a boys' summer camp. He used his position of trust and authority to take advantage of the victim."
The judge agreed, classifying Ben-Porat as a Tier One sex offender.
The law has a three-tier system that determines for how long convicted sex offenders, upon being paroled or completing their sentences, must register their current whereabouts to police, depending on the severity level of the offenses of which they're convicted.
Tier One offense convictions require a 10-year registration period, Tier Two offense convictions require a 25-year registration period and Tier Three offense convictions require a lifetime registration period.
Police said they responded at 4:38 p.m. July 11 to Camp Dora Golding on Craigs Meadow Road and spoke to camp Director Sidney Alex Gold. Police said Gold reported the victim came to his office and wanted to call his mother because Ben-Porat had touched him.
Police said Ben-Porat told them the following:
He had been camp counselor on duty the night before, ensuring the campers were in their cabins by curfew. He entered the victim's cabin while the victim was still up and most of the other boys were asleep.
He went to the top bunk bed, where the victim was, massaged the victim's shoulders, then "took it too far" by massaging the victim's bare buttocks.
Police said the victim told them the following:
He was playing his Nintendo DS gaming system when Ben-Porat entered the cabin. He was uncomfortable, but too scared to say anything when Ben-Porat approached and began rubbing the victim's shoulders.
Ben-Porat then moved his hands down the victim's lower back and began rubbing his bare buttocks. The victim pretended to lose his gaming system and began looking around the cabin for it. At that point, another counselor entered the cabin, and the defendant left.
Prior to and during Tuesday's sentencing, neither authorities nor Ben-Porat mentioned anything about a videotape or of him molesting any other boys.