CHAZAN JAILED FOR SEX ABUSE
A CHAZAN and former barmitzvah tutor has been jailed for seven years for sexually assaulting a teenage girl.
Jason Blair was convicted of five counts of sexual assault against a single victim, who was aged 13 and 14 at the time of the offences, which began in 2015 and took place for more than a year.
Judge Philip Grey ordered Blair, a 47-year-old father-of-two, to sign the sex offenders’ register for life.
Blair is known in the Jewish community for his work as a glass-blower, creating pieces for chupahs, and as a chazan and events manager for barmitzvah parties. He has also worked as a tutor for barmitzvah boys.
He was convicted in April. Sentencing him last Friday, Judge Grey said: “You calculated, rightly at the time, that the victim would not take steps to report you.
“The reality is that you have brought this all down on yourself. It is right that in sentencing I focus on the impact of your offending on the victim. There will be long-lasting and devastating impacts of offending of this nature.”
He added that Blair’s attempt to silence the victim through “emotional blackmail” was an aggravating factor.
In a statement read by prosecutor
Beverly Cripps, the victim said her schoolwork had suffered because of the abuse.
“I am uncomfortable being around male teachers. I feel socially weird. I feel awkward. I don’t like boys hugging me or putting their arms around me, even when they are just being nice. Sometimes
I am alone or on the bus and I find myself thinking about what happened.
“I don’t know the right words to express how I feel.”
The judge noted Blair had no past convictions and had helped friends “through difficult times” in the past. But he added that the offending was “serious and sustained” and the victim’s age was an “aggravating factor”.
Judge Grey said the abuse was so frequent that the victim “could not say how often it happened”.
He said it was likely Blair, of Mill Hill, North West London, had committed more than the seven offences for which he was jailed. St Albans Crown Court heard he had performed a series of sex acts on and in front of the girl.
Judge Grey said: “Whenever you had the urge and saw an opportunity (to abuse her), you did so.
“You did not do the one realistic thing to mitigate this, and admit it. It is clear you are a man of positive good character — in more than the simple absence of previous convictions. But this is limited against the weight of serious and sustained offending.”
Blair was previously commissioned to create an artwork — two glass doves in the shape of a Chai — for Mill Hill United Synagogue, and the work is mounted on an exterior wall. It was paid for by a shul member in memory of a relative.
Paul Charney, shul chairman, told the JC the shul board and representatives from the United Synagogue plan to meet “as soon as possible” to decide whether to remove the piece “under these difficult and very sensitive circumstances”.
Jason Blair ran a glass-blowing business and tutored barmitzvah pupils