(photo credit: ISRAEL POLICE)
An additional senior Israel Police officer with the rank of assistant chief is being questioned on suspicion of sexually harassing female subordinates, the Justice Ministry said on Wednesday.
It is the latest in a series of sexual misconduct allegations against senior officers that has left the force reeling.
The officer is suspected of “sexually harassing a number of female officers who serve under his command, while exploiting his position,” the ministry said on Wednesday.
There is a gag order banning publication of the officer’s name or position in the police, but he holds the rank of assistant chief, the highest rank in the police below inspector-general. Officer of that rank can serve as district commanders and as the head of branches within the police.
The officer joins a long list of top police commanders to be investigated for wrongdoing – in particular sexual harassment – just over the past couple of years. If he is fired or forced to resign he would be the eighth assistant chief to face such a fate amid scandal in less than 18 months.
In a speech Wednesday night in Herzliya, Insp.-Gen. Yochanan Danino said that police are “dealing with some very embarrassing and difficult incidents.”
He said he believes the high number of incidents being reported is largely because police in recent years began running a 24-hotline for female officers to complain about sexual harassment, which has led to a high number of cases being uncovered.
He repeated a statement he made last Thursday, when he said that soon police will appoint female assistant chiefs and that the day is not far off when they will have a female inspector-general.
He added that police view the string of recent scandals with the utmost severity and they will not be tolerated.
In recent statements he has pleaded with the public to not let the scandals tarnish the image of the more than 30,000 officers who serve in the Israel Police and to remember how important the police are to Israeli society.
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