Fugitive child molester in Oregon jail after years abroad

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ashland pedophile back in jail

MEDFORD, Ore. — A child molester who fled after an appeals court tossed out his light sentence is back in an Oregon jail.

Arthur Silverman, 70, was extradited from Israel on Thursday and taken to the Jackson County jail in Medford.

Silverman was arrested in December 1996 for molesting two boys. At the time, he was working as a counselor specializing in sexually abused children. The victims were not involved in his counseling job.

Silverman pleaded guilty to two felony counts of first-degree sexual abuse in 1997. Under Oregon’s voter-approved minimum sentencing law, he was due to serve at least six years and three months in prison.

But then-Jackson County Judge Loren Sawyer, an outspoken critic of inflexible sentencing guidelines, said the penalty was too harsh and gave Silverman 120 days in jail and 10 years’ probation.

The sentence was reversed by the Oregon Court of Appeals, which ordered Silverman to be resentenced under the minimum sentencing guidelines.

The U.S. Supreme Court in October 2000 declined to hear Silverman’s appeal. Silverman was last seen by his probation officer on Nov. 6, 2000 — the day before Oregon voters rejected an effort to repeal the sentencing law.

Police knew Silverman had fled to Israel several years ago, but he could not be extradited under the law at the time, District Attorney Mark Huddleston told the Mail Tribune newspaper.

“We tried to get an extradition earlier, but the treaty between the United States and Israel was an older treaty (that) did not allow for extradition where the victims were boys,” he said.

“Congress signed off on a new treaty with Israel. By that time, we’d lost him again.”

Interpol helped track down Silverman in November 2008. The international police agency told Israeli police Silverman’s wife was flying to Israel to visit him. Police made the arrest after following her taxi from the airport to Silverman’s home in the coastal city of Netanya.

Information from: Mail Tribune, www.mailtribune.com/

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