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Yosef Kolko sentenced to 13 years for sexual assault

NEW YORK (JTA) — Yosef Kolko, a former Jewish educator from New Jersey, was sentenced to 13 years in prison for aggravated sexual assault.

Kolko, who was sentenced late Thursday in Ocean County Superior Court in New Jersey, pleaded guilty in May to multiple sexual crimes. A former counselor at an Orthodox summer camp, Kolko admitted to performing oral sex and attempting anal intercourse with a 12-year old boy.

Kolko repeatedly tried to withdraw his guilty plea, claiming that members of the Lakewood, N.J., Jewish community had pressured him into pleading guilty in order to avoid the spectacle of a trial.

Testimony from the victim, now 16, was crucial in the outcome of the case, The Associated Press reported. According to prosecutors, the victim’s family was ostracized by the Lakewood community for bringing the case to state authorities because they feared religious authorities were not handling the issue appropriately.

‘My message to those monsters out there who are abusing: You will be exposed, you will be put behind bars, and you will go through hell on earth,” the unnamed victim told the court. “Molesting may seem harmless to you, but the reality is that it kills people with every touch.’’

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