By Matthew Lysiak and Jonathan Lemire (NY Daily News)
December 4, 2010
Yechezkel Kranczer, 24, posted $10,000 bail and left Brooklyn Criminal Court Saturday afternoon after he was arraigned on charges of sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child.
He was instructed to not contact his 13- and 16-year-old victims. Kranczer, two brothers and his father, Rabbi Gershon Kranczer, are together accused of abusing four relatives for years.
Yechezkel Kranczer, dressed in traditional Orthodox garb, made eye contact with the judge and simply uttered "Yes" when asked if he understood the charges — which are both misdemeanors — and the restraining order.
He refused to speak with reporters outside the courtroom.
Yechezkel Kranczer's passport was taken in an attempt to prevent him from fleeing the country, which investigators believe the rabbi did Monday as cops closed in.
Gershon Kranczer, the 58-year-old former head of Yeshiva Tehila L'Dovid, and his 20-year-old son Asher boarded a flight at Kennedy Airport and flew to Israel.
They have not been located.
Investigators believe the rabbi and three of his sons — Yechezkel, Asher, and a 15-year-old whose name has not been released — repeatedly preyed on four female relatives.
The abuse came to light after one of the women, who is now 20, broke down and told a co-worker at a yeshiva that the rabbi had been molesting her for 15 years.
"This family ... has been engaged in a horrific pattern of sexual abuse," said Assistant District Attorney John Holmes.
Cops raided the rabbi's dilapidated Midwood home where he and his wife — who are first cousins — raised 14 children.
Though prosecutors believe the home, which is crammed with bunk beds and children's toys, was the site of the many of the attacks, they do not believe the wife was involved in the pattern of abuse.
The children range in age from 10 to 28. The minors were placed in the care of the Administration for Children's Services.
The 15-year-old suspect surrendered to police and is awaiting arraignment, officials said.
Neighbors were stunned at the allegations against the rabbi, who ran a yeshiva that catered to disabled children. Several of the rabbi's children are disabled — including Asher, who is legally blind.