Montreal Jewish leader begins jail term


MONTREAL (JTA) — A former director of B’nai Brith Canada in Quebec who pleaded guilty to a child pornography charge received the minimum 45-day jail term.

Bill Surkis, 71, will serve the time on weekends; he began his sentence on Dec. 10. 

Surkis pleaded guilty in May to two counts of possessing and accessing child pornography dating back to 2008. A charge of distributing child pornography was dropped.

After Surkis took his computer in for repairs in May 2009, police found 21 videos, some depicting girls between the ages of 6 and 14, engaging in sex with adults.

A judge in Toronto ruled last week that Surkis also must perform 240 hours of community service and be on probation for three years.

Both the prosecution and defense agreed that Surkis should receive the minimum sentence allowed by law.

The judge ruled against the prosecution’s request to have Surkis register as a sex offender and also did not order a DNA sample to be taken.

Surkis, also a former director of Montreal’s Holocaust Memorial Center, had testified that the arrest and conviction "destroyed" his life and family.

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