Former summer camp boss Tal Landsman has pledged to rebuild his life after being found not guilty of child cruelty, writes Marc Shoffman.
Landsman, of Admiral Drive, Stevenage had been accused of failing to report “indecent images of very young children” discovered on the mobile phone of co-defendant and LL Camps co-owner Ben Lewis, but was found not guilty by jurors at St Albans Crown court in less than an hour.
He has revealed how the case had weighed on his whole family and now they are seeking to “return to normality”.
The 26-year-old told Jewish News: “I have found tremendous support from a number of rabbis, educators and other leaders within the community who have been there with guidance and encouragement throughout this difficult time.
“This case has been incredibly tough for my whole family. We’ve all felt that we’ve had to more or less put our whole lives on hold for the past 10 months.”
Lewis entered a guilty plea and is due to be sentenced, but that left much of the focus of the trial on Landsman.
It took a jury less than an hour to clear him of any wrongdoing.
Landsman said he was appalled at what he learned in relation to Lewis, adding: “I provided a clear and consistent account of my actions during the relevant period upon request by the police and this was borne out in the evidence adduced by the prosecution. I believe the unanimous verdict of the jury, in less than an hour, speaks volumes as regards the allegation against me.”
But he was unhappy with some of the ways the media reported the story.
He said: “These past months have taught me a lot about the media and how events and situations can be portrayed.
“The media attention the case received was difficult to deal with, but my family and I have been lucky to have a fantastic level of support that has helped us through this incredibly painful time.
“I feel that certain members of the press have pursued headlines with little regard or concern for the content of their articles and the affect such poorly researched articles can have on public perception.”
LL Camps was opened by the pair in 2010 and had become a popular summer camp for kids. But it lost its Ofsted licence last August when the allegations against Lewis first emerged, destroying plans to open an LL primary school.
Landsman said he was still proud of his achievements but now needed time to reflect on what had happened.
He said: “I loved the school application process and was rightfully very proud of my achievements, however now I need time to consider and reflect on what has just happened and the ramifications of the past almost ten months.
“My girlfriend, my family and I want to move forward and return to normality. Professionally I am looking for the right position towards which I will be able to put all the incredible experience that I have gained and built up over the past seven years while running my own business.”