Man in handcuffs - illustrative.
(photo credit: INGIMAGE / ASAP)
There is evidence that an IDF colonel from an elite unit sent sexually explicit messages to a series of underage boys, police said Sunday, as the officer was brought to court for the second time in a sex crimes case that is only beginning to unfold.
At the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court on Sunday, a representative of the police said the case “is like Sodom and Gomorrah” and that police have seized a computer and cellphone belonging to the officer on which they found correspondence between him and a 15-year-old highschool student.
In the correspondence, the officer asked the boy how old he was and at what school he studied, before continuing with the sexually explicit conversation.
The officer, who is 40, also told the youth that he was only 37 years old, and asked that he be referred to as “the officer.”
Police suspect there are more than 10 other victims who they believe were in touch with the officer, but that at the moment they are not able to link him personally to any meetings with the teens. This is in contrast to former Maccabi Petah Tikva manager Ofer Tzabari, who is suspected of having sex with at least one 15-year-old boy, and whose arrest last month led to the investigation in which the IDF officer was arrested.
An attorney representing the officer asked that his client be released from jail pending trial, saying of him that “this is a man who since he was 18 has been in the army and all of these years are to his credit.”
In the end, the judge extended his remand for a further two days. Journalists present submitted a request to have the gag order on the officer’s name removed, arguing that it is in the public interest to know, but the media ban was extended.
The officer was arrested last week, a few weeks after Tzabari was arrested on the night of November 27 after he hit a traffic police officer with his car in Bat Yam and fled the scene. He fled from police after he was found sitting in a car partly naked with a 17-year-old boy engaging in what police described as “suspicious activity.”
Since then, police were able to reach more teens they believe may have been victims of Tzabari and three other suspects, including the colonel.