Man gets full sentence after months as fugitive

Ex-teacher accused of sex offenses with boy failed to report to jail

`A cowardly approach'

February 09, 2002|By Lisa Goldberg | Lisa Goldberg,SUN STAFF

A former Glenwood Middle School teacher who ran from authorities rather than report to jail for a conviction related to his conduct with a 15-year-old boy, will serve an extra 18 months in prison for his actions, a judge ruled yesterday.

Saying Klaude Krannebitter took "a cowardly approach," Howard County Circuit Judge Lenore R. Gelfman ruled that the 38-year-old Catonsville man must serve a full 2-year sentence for a conviction of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Gelfman originally suspended all but six months of the sentence and gave Krannebitter a year to report to the Howard County Detention Center -- an arrangement designed to give the former teacher time to prove he was deserving of probation instead of jail.

"The defendant has betrayed that trust," Gelfman said after Krannebitter admitted to violating the conditions of his probation. FBI task force members arrested Krannebitter in Rehoboth Beach, Del., last month -- 10 months after he was supposed to begin serving his jail sentence.

Instead of reporting to jail on March 7 as ordered, authorities said, Krannebitter disappeared, missing hearings in Howard County, as well as in Baltimore City, where he is charged with driving while intoxicated, and in Baltimore County, where he is accused of violating his probation in a sex offense conviction related to the same 15-year-old boy.

The cases in Howard and Baltimore counties stemmed from the same March 1999 traffic stop. The teen-ager, who was in the car with Krannebitter, later told investigators that the Catonsville man had paid him for sex acts. Krannebitter resigned from Glenwood Middle after his arrest.

Krannebitter still faces hearings in Baltimore County and in the city, his attorney, James J. Gitomer, said yesterday.

Krannebitter's disappearance gained prominence last spring after it was discovered that he was scheduled to appear in a summer performance for the Maryland Arts Festival, although authorities were searching for him. Krannebitter, a fixture on the local theater scene, was fired after festival officials learned of his legal troubles.

"As a result of stupidity, as a result of fear, and most importantly, as a result of emotional disturbance, he chose to ... run," Gitomer said.

But he said his client led a solid, respected life before his arrest in 1999 and has the support of family and friends. Krannebitter said yesterday that he hadn't put his "heart and soul" into treatment after he was convicted.

Now, though, "I know that if I do, I will be able to correct what was wrong and to become a responsible person," he said. "And that is what I want."

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