CHAZAN JAILED FOR SEX ABUSE

The Jewish Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - BY BEN WEICH

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”.

PHOTO: FACEBOOK

Ja­son Blair ran a glass-blow­ing busi­ness and tu­tored bar­mitz­vah pupils

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