Aug. 5-SCRANTON - A West Scranton man will spend up to six decades in state prison for repeatedly sexually assaulting a city girl over a three-year period.
Lackawanna County Judge Margaret Bisignani Moyle on Friday sentenced John Lewis Kramer, 37, to 30 to 60 years behind bars plus three years of probation for his conviction on child rape and a string of other charges. He also faces lifetime registration as a sexually violent predator.
The state sentence comes on top of a 30-year federal prison term imposed on Kramer earlier this year for videotaping sex acts with the same child and trying to tamper with a witness.
The Times-Tribune does not identify victims of sexual assault.
Scranton police charged Kramer in March 2020 with assaulting a 15-year-old girl who investigators say was 12 when the abuse started. The arrest followed an investigation that began after a family member found photos and videos of the victim engaged in sexual activity on Kramer's cellphone and contacted police.
After a four-day trial, a county court jury deliberated just seven minutes Feb. 17 before finding Kramer guilty of rape of a child, statutory sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and four other charges.
Citing evidence from the trial that showed Kramer turned his young victim into a kind of "sex slave," Assistant District Attorney Bo Loughney argued for harsh punishment.
He asked Moyle to consider a prison sentence of 53 1/2 to 127 years, citing among other things the likelihood that Kramer will reoffend if he is released from prison and his failure to accept responsibility for his actions.
"This is a man who not only raped someone, raped a child ... by accounts, it doesn't faze him," Loughney told the judge.
A U.S. District Court judge sentenced Kramer on Feb. 23 to 360 months in federal prison for his related 2021 conviction on charges of production of child pornography and attempted witness tampering.
In his remarks to the court, defense attorney C.J. Rotteveel said he understood Loughney's position, calling the crimes Kramer was convicted of "heinous," but told Moyle the federal sentence alone will keep the defendant in prison into his 60s.
"One of my questions is how much is enough. ... Is 30 years enough? Is 40 years enough?" the attorney asked.
The victim was present in the courtroom but did not speak. Loughney read a letter the girl's mother wrote to the court requesting a sentence that will keep Kramer imprisoned for a long time.
Kramer declined to make a statement. Rotteveel told Moyle he advised Kramer not to speak to preserve his appellate rights.
In handing down the sentence, Moyle told Kramer the court found a number of aggravating factors, including his threats of violence against the victim, his videotaping of the assaults and the fact they happened over time. She also spoke about the impact on the victim and her family.
"The ramifications of your actions spread far and wide," the judge told the defendant.
At the outset of the sentencing proceeding, Kramer agreed to stipulate he meets the criteria for designation as a sexually violent predator, which requires him to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. The stipulation negated the need for the court to conduct a hearing on the designation.
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