The following victim impact statement was read out in court at the sentencing hearing of David Kramer, by Manny Waks of Tzedek (Australia) on behalf of the brave victim/survivor. (posted on the Tzedek site on July 24, 2013)
I was abused and molested by David Kramer over the course of two years, between the ages of 9 and 11 years old. This abuse happened in the classroom (in front of the class, although hidden from them) in places of worship, in the school library, in his house etc.
I was the epitome of an innocent child. Growing up, we didn’t have a television, magazines, or any secular form of media. I grew up loving religion, excelled in its study and was generally a sincere innocent boy who knew nothing from any sexual conduct. At the age of nine this all changed. I became this horror student who respected nothing. I refused to take tests in school and generally misbehaved. I had no respect for any authority, as the most well-liked respected teacher who was in a position of authority was a total fraud and liar!!
Without getting into the details of my traumatic experience, I will lay out the facts and repercussion that followed & let them speak for themselves:
As soon after the abuse I was the whistleblower and, as a result of my talking he was exposed, the entire school knew that I was a victim. Immediately following Kramer’s expulsion from school I was bullied by other students. Some of these students were around five years older than me. In one incident I remember a boy who must have been around four years older than me, shin me in my thigh and went on to say “this is for making up lies about Kramer”. I was around 11 or 12 years old at the time. I remember running home crying to tell my parents that I was assaulted. I skipped school that day.
As the bullying and teasing intensified and became unbearable, [REDACTED]. My last year in regular school was [REDACTED]. The bullying stigma associated with this experience made that ever unbearable. I finally dropped out of the Yeshivah Centre at [REDACTED] and my father transferred me to [REDACTED]. I lasted there four months.
At this point in my life, I was not sleeping well due to the constant nightmares. I despised my surroundings. I could not deal with any authority, even from my parents. At the age of 14 and a half to 15, with $100 in my pocket, I caught a train to [REDACTED] alone to escape my nightmarish world. Leaving a note for my parents, telling them I loved them but life had become unbearable; I begged them not to look for me and disappeared to [REDACTED] alone. In [REDACTED]I showed up at my grandmother’s residence and began working at a chicken shop and mobile phone sales. After six months I enrolled in [REDACTED] School. This lasted two or three months at the most. I never went back to school.
My life was really unbearable and consisted of watching TV most of the day and taking a sleeping pill to fall asleep. I was alone in the world and never discussed the elements of my abuse with a therapist. Until I made a police report in [REDACTED]. Whilst describing my trauma to the police I remember telling the officer that his private parts were hard. She asked me if he had an erection. I didn’t know what an erection was at the age of 15-16 years old!
For the next couple of years, I survived on scamming people to survive, borrowing money from acquaintances etc. I was taking sleeping pills on a nightly basis until the age of 17. When I ran out of pills I remember lying in bed tossing and turning for the entire night. Until this very day my I am scared of sleeping and have major trouble falling asleep (especially in the past five years, when information regarding Kramer’s arrest in Missouri was emailed to me).
At the age of 17 I began blocking these events from my mind. I did so with drugs – marijuana, cocaine, alcohol, gambling and pills of all sorts.
My sex life was non-existent. I had thought of sex as a bad thing, and till very recently had intimacy issues.
Jumping to age 25, I got married. For years I was smoking marijuana and consumed large quantities of alcohol and they became my new medication. I also had a major gambling problem. When I got married, my first two years I mostly stayed away from marijuana but was drinking and gambling heavily. My marriage was not good….my wife kept on telling me to go get help as she didn’t think I was capable of loving. I never did.
At age 27, my father emailed me an article informing me that David Kramer had been arrested in Missouri for Sodomy. The next three days I did not sleep a wink. On the eve of Yom Kippur (the holiest day in the Jewish calendar), I contacted my old principle (Rabbi Glick) and asked him why – why did you let this monster go? I vented on the phone to him (and he was very patient and nice to me). I remember that Yom Kippur standing in synagogue praying to God to help me stop feeling this way. Allow me to sleep, allow me to move on, to remove all my addictions and shortcomings. My wife was not particularly supportive of my trauma and didn’t want me to discuss it with anyone or come out as a victim due to the stigma associated with this in the Jewish community. My wife had suggested I rather seek medical help from therapists and psychologists.
By this point in my life I had become a very successful [REDACTED]. I had just moved into my new house that I had built myself. I had a beautiful [REDACTED]. My life was finally on track to be a normal happy life.
This all changed the minute I saw the article that was emailed to me. The article stated that Kramer had been arrested in Missouri for sodomy and was currently sitting in a Missouri jail. This article triggered these memories that I had worked so hard to forget. I could not sleep, work or function as a normal human being. Within a week of reading this article, I was on the phone constantly with family members, rabbis, fellow victims – it engulfed my life. Within a month, my business closed down and my marriage was severely damaged (and I was obtaining marriage counseling as a result). Within a year or so, I was separated and had placed my house on the market, was smoking marijuana on a daily basis, gambling away my savings (to a point of losing over $1 million in one year) and drinking away my sorrows.
In [REDACTED] I got divorced, and my life finally really fell apart. I do not know if it can all be blamed on the nightmares I was experiencing but can let the facts and timeline speak for themselves.
Today, I am finally rid of alcohol, gambling and marijuana, although I sometimes take sleeping pills to fall asleep. As of today’s date I am [REDACTED] clean. I am in intensive therapy and with God’s help I WILL overcome these demons that I have battled my entire life since age 11 and will be emerging stronger than ever.
This is the main reason that I needed my trial or at the very least some sort of closure (such as reading this statement personally in front of David Kramer). He must know how he has stolen, ruined and destroyed my life. He may not have raped me physically but he raped me out of my childhood and innocence.
I am profoundly sorry that I was not stronger before and could not confront my demons; many kids could have been saved. I did try and locate Kramer (successfully). I even went to the local newspapers and told them my story and advised them that he was roaming freely and definitely doing it to others. They advised me to get it on tape and wanted me to confront him personally. I did not have that courage (even though [REDACTED]).
The furthest I ever reached was phoning him. I remember the response when I called him and stated it was me and that I wanted to meet. He responded in a happy tone…how are you? Sure lets meet! I hung up the phone in disgust. I did not have the courage and strength to face him.
This excuse for a human being has stolen the following things that most of them can never be replaced:
My childhood innocence, my education, my dignity, my ability to fall asleep normally, my ability to respect, my ability to love normally, my right to be a child, my home, my money, my marriage, my religion, my time (seeking therapy & counseling), my ability to cry, and the list goes on and on.
With gratitude for this opportunity,