(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
Former Nazareth District Court president Yitzhak Cohen on Monday was sentenced by the Rishon Lezion Magistrate's Court to 220 hours of community service and an NIS 2500 fine for sexually harassing a court employee.
Cohen confessed to the crime as part of a plea bargain to reduce the charges from indecent assault. The deal had also included a provision that the court court would merely "find" him guilty, but not formally convict him in a way that would create a criminal record.
The court rejected this provision and convicted Cohen, including giving him a criminal record. Still the lenient sentence has drawn criticism from the Association of Rape Crisis Centers and other women's support groups.This was particularly true since when allegations of illegal behavior by Cohen first became public, they included two other alleged cases of sexual assault or harassment. Both of those inquiries were closed because they were beyond the statute of limitations or the alleged victims did not want to go forward with the matter – meaning he had already “gotten off” on some accusations.
Cohen is among the highest ranking judicial officers in the country’s history to be found guilty of a criminal offense.