(photo credit: Courtesy)
After almost 17 years on the lam, Dr. Kenneth Frank (alias Yonatan Efrat) will be returned shortly to the California penal system following a Jerusalem District Court justice's ruling on Wednesday.
Frank, 56, a former resident of Bakersfield, California, was convicted in 1989 of drugging and raping a woman in 1985 and anothe one in 1986.
He was declared a fugitive after failing to appear for his sentencing hearing. In his absence, probation officers recommended a 12-year sentence for the two attacks.
According to testimony at the trial, Frank raped the two women in his apartment after drugging them with the anti-anxiety medication Ativan. Both women said that they had woken up naked and discovered that someone had sexual intercourse with them, after which, they said, Frank told them not to worry because they enjoyed having sex with him. Frank testified in his defense that both relationships were consensual.
After his disappearance, police found that Frank's car had been seen at Los Angeles International Airport, adding to suspicions that he had fled the country. Months later, the popular US television show Unsolved Mysteries aired a segment about Frank.
Following his flight, Frank apparently entered Israel on his official passport, but then applied for citizenship under the Law of Return four years later.
On his application for citizenship, Frank claimed to have no criminal record in his country of origin.
But by 2001, the FBI had begun to suspect that Frank had fled to Israel. Israel Police worked to locate Frank and discovered in December 2004 that he was living in Ra'anana under the assumed name of Yonatan Efrat, and that he had since married, fathered a child, and was employed as a family doctor under his assumed name at a Ra'anana health clinic.
Police did not, however, move on the fugitive until puzzling out whether the statute of limitations applied after an international manhunt. After legal understandings were reached between Israeli and US authorities, Frank was arrested by Israel Police in August 2006.
On Wednesday the Deputy Head of the Jerusalem District Court, Judge Zvi Segel, ruled that Frank could be extradited to the US to serve his sentence for the two rapes.