Commander Roni Ritman.
(photo credit: ISRAEL POLICE)
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein on Thursday closed the file on the allegations of sexual harassment against Lahav 443 Asst.-Ch. Roni Ritman due to evidentiary problems and the time that has passed since the incidents in question occurred.
The allegations against Ritman were made by a single female subordinate who alleged that on three occasions he sexually harassed her, including one incident where he allegedly tried to kiss her against her will at a social function five years ago.
Weinstein implied that Ritman would normally be disciplined, even as he was escaping criminal prosecution, but that the allegations were too old and stale to pursue those proceedings.
On December 9, Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich had extended Ritman's forced leave, though police said Alsheich and Ritman agreed to the extension in order to give Justice Ministry investigators more time to finish probing the allegations.
Also, on December 9, former police chief Yohanan Danino gave a rare interview to Army Radio, in which he denied rumors and allegations in recent days of conflicts of interest involving him and the case.
Channel 2 had published a report that the harassment complainant can be heard on tape speaking to Danino shortly before he appointed Ritman, saying that she was sexually harassed by the officer.
Danino denied rumors that he had any sort of inappropriate relationship with the complainant, or that he had appointed Ritman because of embarrassing information that Ritman had obtained against him.
“None of this ever happened,” Danino said. “I appointed Ritman because I have known him for many years and very much respect his capabilities.”
He added that he was not informed of anything about Ritman that would be enough to prevent his appointment.
Danino has already been questioned by Justice Ministry investigators, and according to the ministry, aspects of his responses have supported the complainant’s version of events. Ritman himself was questioned twice. Ben Hartman contributed to this report.