A Tel Aviv District Court on Tuesday convicted a 36-year-old man of using
Internet chat software to make contact with and sexually assault a 13-year-old
According to the court’s findings, Moshe Sarnaga used a false
identity, claimed he was only 24 and offered to spend a day with his victim,
known only as Alef because of a gag order, at the beach in order to lure her to
his home and sexually assault her.
The court decision states that Sarnaga
met Alef at a mall on April 13, 2010, telling her he would drive her on his
motorcycle to the beach. Instead Sarnaga stopped at his home near the beach and
told Alef to come upstairs with him before the beach because he was
Once in his home, the Court found that Sarnaga sexually
assaulted Alef. The court also convicted Sarnaga of obstruction of justice in
telling Alef not to tell anyone about what had occurred and instructing her
about how to leave his home in a way that would not arouse suspicion.
original indictment had alleged that Sarnaga had stripped Alef naked, attempted
to rape her and forced her to commit sexual acts on him. The indictment had
stated that Sarnaga was interrupted when he received a text message from the
girl’s father threatening to send the police after Saranaga if the girl did not
immediately make contact with her parents. At this point, Sarnaga released
Despite the initial charges of multiple counts of attempted rape
and sodomy in the indictment, the court convicted Sarnaga of the lesser crimes
of a single count of sexual assault with a minor under circumstances of rape and
obstruction of justice.
Sarnaga disputed that he did anything wrong,
claiming that everything had been consensual. Regarding Alef’s age, Sarnaga
testified that he had no idea how old she was and that he had not lied about his
age and had only used a different name, which many people innocently do on the
The court rejected Sarnaga’s version of events and accepted
Alef’s version, particularly finding that his claimed ignorance that she was a
minor was at best “willfully shutting his eyes” in the face of obvious facts, if
not outright perjury.
Also, in his defense, besides the standard
arguments, Sarnaga objected that Alef’s father had been highly aggressive in
aiding and even interfering with the police’s investigation.
pointed out that Alef’s father had deleted text and other electronic messages
between Alef and Sarnaga which were relevant to the case.
that some of Alef’s father’s conduct was questionable and that no evidence
should have been deleted, the court ultimately found that none of the described
conduct interfered with Sarnaga’s defense and that none of the deleted evidence
would have helped him prove his innocence.
Finally, Sarnaga argued that
Alef’s friends had not been properly investigated regarding what she told them
about the incident.
The court concluded that any missing evidence
regarding Alef’s friends was at best hearsay, and statements by persons who were
not actually present during the incident had no direct knowledge that would
change the court’s conclusions.
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