Eric Komar is a children's singer/songwriter who performed in synagogues throughout New Jersey, or rather he was before he was convicted for receipt of child pornography. Komar, in addition to being a children's entertainer at Jewish community centers, camps, conventions and synagogues, was a music teacher. Last month after he was initially arrested Komar admitted that he masturbated to child pornography daily and had on multiple instances become aroused at and in the presence of a child.
Komar was <a href="https://www.justice.gov/usao-nj/pr/children-s-singersongwriter-sentenced-82-months-prison-receipt-child-pornography">sentenced to 82 months in prison</a> for receipt of child sexual abuse images. Komar, 47, was a resident of Hillsborough, New Jersey. He had pled guilty to the charge of receipt. Between April and September of last year, Komar utilized a peer-to-peer file sharing program to download images of prepubescent children being sexually abused. Some of the images were specifically sadistic abuse.
After his prison term, he will be made to register as a sex offender and submit to 10 years of supervised release.
Temple Shaari Emeth issued a statement in regards to Komar:
We recently became aware that Eric Komar, a singer-songwriter who has performed for children at synagogues, Jewish community centers, camps and conventions nationwide was arrested, by the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force, and charged with receiving and distributing child pornography. Mr. Komar most recently performed at Temple Shaari Emeth this past Saturday and was employed as a Teen Choir Director in the past. We were deeply disturbed to learn the nature of the charges. As with every Temple employee, a background check was completed before he was hired.
We take our responsibility for the safety of our children very seriously. Nothing is more important than their wellbeing.
May our world know healing and wholeness.
Rabbi Melinda Panken
Joan Fischer, Presiden
According to<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29698876">a study published in the academic journal Child Abuse & Neglect</a>, compared to the general population in the US, the "history of involuntary penetration was greater among formerly (but not presently) Orthodox Jews (OR = 3.00)." In Brooklyn's Haredi Orthodox community an epidemic of child abuse was finally uncovered stemming from religious leaders and teachers. As in the case of child abuse in the Catholic Church, the findings were initially suppressed and in this case <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/10/nyregion/ultra-orthodox-jews-shun-their-own-for-reporting-child-sexual-abuse.html?pagewanted=all">Brooklyn police even intimidated witnesses and encouraged members of the community to shun victims</a> who spoke out. It's possible this is one factor explaining why the numbers of reported sexual abuse in the 2018 study were higher among "former" Orthodox Jews.
According to Ha'aretz nearly <a href="https://www.haaretz.com/.premium-half-of-israeli-children-suffer-abuse-1.5289516">half of the children in Israel suffered</a> some form of serious sexual, physical or emotional abuse. As we recently reported, Israel has begun detaining and turning away Israeli citizens and other Jews who have a history of Palestinian activism but the Independent reported that Israel is <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/israel-safe-haven-paedophiles-jerusalem-sex-abuse-jewish-community-watch-a7445246.html">becoming a "safe haven for pedophiles."</a>
Komar had released 4 CDs of religious music and <a href="https://tbaparsippany.org/event/shabbat-services-shabbat-hallelu-with-eric-komar-youth-choir-performs/">performed Shabbat services with a youth choir</a> in the past.
Before his arrest <a href="http://www.centraljersey.com/archives/local-hillsborough-jewish-musician-releases-th-cd/article_01abd1de-6011-5377-aaae-796b08880394.html">CentralJersey.com noted</a> he had performed at, among other locations, Congregation Kehilat Shalom and Kindercapers Preschool of Belle Mead, NJ; Barnert Temple Preschool of Franklin Lakes, NJ; Mountaintop School for Young Children of Warren, NJ; and Temple Beth-El Religious School & Early Childhood Center of Hillsborough, NJ.
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In one of his songs, Ripple, the moral imparted is a simple one, to "watch, watch, watch what you do, because the deeds you do make ripples too."