Rabbi Moti Elon who was last year convicted of sexual assault on a minor and sentenced to perform six months community service will not be appealing the court decision, it was announced on Sunday.
Elon, formerly one of the most popular and influential leaders of the national-religious movement, was charged and convicted on two counts of indecent assault by force against a minor in August 2013.
He was given a six month commuted sentence to be served in community service, as well as placed on three years probation and ordered to pay the complainant NIS 10,000.
Elon’s attorney Asher Ohayoun said that the rabbi had decided not to appeal. This decision was made based on the wishes of his family as well as the counsel of other rabbis, but against the opinion of his legal team who believe that an appeal would stand a good chance of success.
Ohayoun told The Jerusalem Post that although the sentence could not be made more severe, since the state-attorney’s office decided not to appeal it, Elon’s family had requested that he not appeal the conviction due to the negative impact of the ongoing media coverage on the family.
“Three years of this is enough, there are children and grandchildren to take into consideration and they don’t want to keep hearing about their father and grandfather in the press,” said Elon’s attorney.
Ohayoun continued to insist that an appeal had a good chance of being accepted by a higher court, but said that he could not promise Elon or his family that it would be swiftly dealt with.
“They want to get this behind them now,” he said.
Elon never admitted to the offenses he was convicted for, and after the sentencing said that he was the victim of a “fundamentally mistaken and false libel.”
The conviction, handed down in August, said that during a private meeting in 2005 with a 17-year-old boy known as “Alef,” Elon stroked his face and different parts of his body on top of his clothes, sat the boy on his lap and kissed him on the face for a prolonged period.
In a separate incident, Elon met Alef in his private office, closed the door, sat him on his knees and, while clothed, rubbed his genitals against Alef’s body – while both were fully dressed.
Several politicians criticized the sentence handed to Elon as too lenient and an insufficient deterrent to other potential abusers.