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Police questioning welfare authorities over Kiryat Gat sex scandal
By BEN HARTMAN,Lidar Gravé-Lazi
06/01/2014
Police said Wednesday they had arrested a 38-year-old woman, launched probe following complaints that she had sexual relations with underage local boys.
 
The Southern District Police said on Sunday that they have begun questioning local welfare authorities in Kiryat Gat in order to determine whether or not they followed procedure for handling a report of alleged sexual abuse of minors.

Police said they have begun questioning people involved in the local welfare services and gathering testimony, but that at the moment no one is being questioned under caution.

They added that they are also working to secure search warrants to access further documents.

On Wednesday police announced that they had arrested a 38-year-old woman and launched a probe following complaints that she had sexual relations with a number of underage local boys.

They said that the instances allegedly took place at the woman’s house and that they had received some indication that other incidents may have taken place in Eilat.

Welfare Minister Meir Cohen visited the Kiryat Gat municipality on Sunday for an “urgent meeting” with welfare authorities, including the social workers who treated the woman.

Cohen said there was a “systemic failure” of “too many officials” and promised that “those who failed will pay the price.”

Cohen added that he would work to expand the law so that any citizen who is exposed to such an incident will be required to report it.

MK Yifat Kariv (Yesh Atid) requested an urgent meeting of the Labor, Welfare and Health Committee to discuss the incident and the role of the welfare authorities.

“Since the exposure of this case last week, the picture is becoming more and more difficult with regards to the welfare authorities, who knew, but chose to ignore it and endanger our children!” Kariv said in a statement.

The MK called for the urgent discussion to address the policy of the Welfare Ministry in handling the case and to understand how the Health Ministry intends to ensure that the “hundreds of youth involved were not exposed to life-threatening diseases.”

“It is our duty to continue to work to eradicate the phenomenon through legislation, acute punishment and appropriate enforcement, and not give up on advocacy and educational prevention to eradicate the phenomenon,” she said.
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