Rabbi Accused of Sexually Abusing Daughters

By Anthony M. Destefano (NY Newsday)
December 3, 2010

The NYPD and Israeli police are searching for a Brooklyn yeshiva rabbi who, along with three of his sons, allegedly took part in years of sex abuse of four of his daughters, one as young as 8, law enforcement officials said Friday.

Gershon Kranczer, 58, and a son, Asher, 21, are sought for questioning about the sex abuse allegations after both suddenly fled to Israel on Nov. 29 in the wake of claims by one of Kranczer's daughters that she had been raped, according to police.

"They are wanted for questioning on the allegations," NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said Friday.

According to police, Kranczer and his wife, who happens to be his first cousin, had 14 children - seven boys and seven girls ranging in ages from 28 to 8 years old - and were living in a two-story detached frame house in the Midwood section of Brooklyn. The home was set up in dormitory-style, with bunk beds throughout.

"Nobody has seen anything like this before," one law enforcement source, who didn't want to be identified, said of the case.

Investigators said the case began to develop in recent weeks after Kranczer's 20-year-old daughter, who had been working as a teacher's assistant at a yeshiva, told one of the instructors there she had been sexually attacked. The school notified the police.

It's alleged a total of four of Kranczer's daughters were abused, either by him or three of his sons, said police. The 20-year-old victim was allegedly sexually abused by Kranczer and another of his sons, Yechezkel, 24, said Browne, adding the young woman was also allegedly raped by Asher.

Yechezkel Kranczer was arrested by police Thursday, as was a 15-year-old younger brother, who is not being identified because he is a minor, said Browne.

Asher Kranczer also allegedly sexually abused two other sisters, ages 19 and 17, while the unidentified 15-year-old brother alleged sexually abused his 8-year-old sister.

Both the 15-year-old boy, whose case is being dealt with through Family Court, and his 8-year-old sister have been providing information to investigators, said police.

Browne said an NYPD intelligence detective on assignment in Israel is joining the search for Kranczer and his son, who he described as being legally blind.

A spokesman for the Brooklyn district attorney's office said Yechezkel Kranczer has been charged with 25 counts of sexual abuse in the second degree and 45 counts of sexual abuse in the third degree, as well as two counts of endangering a child's welfare. All charges are misdemeanors. His arraignment was pending late Friday.