The High Court on Tuesday rejected the appeal of a 30-year-old male IDF soldier who posed as an 18-year-old female soldier over the Internet and sexually assaulted three girls.
The soldier blackmailed the girls, two of them 13 and one 16, to release their nude photos on the Internet.
“Little Red Riding Hood no longer wanders around the woods infested with wolves; she wanders around the Internet, where hunters and predators of a different kind lurk,” the court said in a statement.
The offender was originally sentenced to two years in prison and payment of compensation for the victims.
Upon appeal, he attempted to argue that since he only met with the girls and harmed them virtually, he should be granted leniency in sentencing.
Supreme Court justices Edna Arbel, Yitzhak Amit and Neal Hendel issued a ruling rejecting these claims, and left the original sentence unchanged.
“Women and girls do not have to walk warily with a shadow that follows their every step, not on a secluded street and not in the corridors of the [social] network,” the statement said.
According to the ruling, sex offenses conducted over the Internet are just as harmful if not more harmful to minors. The reasons for this, the justices concluded, is that in addition to the damage there remains the constant threat of posting pictures on the Web and the damage was done to the children when they were at home – a place that is supposed to be safe.
The court further said that this phenomenon of virtual sexual harassment and assault via the Internet is on the rise and it requires strict and deterring treatment.
Dr. Yitzhak Kadman, executive director of The National Council for the Child, welcomed the Supreme Court ruling, saying “All the pedophiles and the cowardly sex offenders hiding behind the anonymity of dialogue know that their fate will not be easier than that of other sex offenders.”