(photo credit: PR)
The father of famous singer Eyal Golan, Dani Biton, was convicted on Sunday by the Tel Aviv District Court as part of a plea bargain for a scheme of exploiting his connection with Golan to press female minors into providing sexual favors to him and his associates.
The conviction may carry a penalty of up to two years in prison and a NIS 50,000 fine paid to three victims, but sentencing will be given at a later date.
The indictment painted a picture of Biton using the fact that certain women and underage girls wanted to get closer to Golan, as well as exploiting their socio-economic insecurities, to manipulate them into providing sexual services and eventually becoming prostitutes.
Biton was also convicted of paying the underage girls, giving them presents for the sexual services they provided, and obstruction of justice.
The Golan case broke open in late 2013 and took the country by storm. The singer – for years one of Israel’s top recording artists, the former host of his own reality show singing competition, and a judge on a second show – was among several men arrested in November 2013 after allegations surfaced that he had sex with minors.
The allegations dominated the news, involving claims that Golan and his inner circle held sex parties involving drugs and loud music, where underage girls had sex with men twice their age or older.
A few days after the case broke, Golan and five other men were brought in for questioning, though Golan was soon released to house arrest.
When the case against Golan was closed, he said, “I want to thank my mother, my children, and the fans who supported me the entire time.”
Golan had proclaimed his innocence, saying, “In the last three months, I have endured very difficult days. I am aware that the Israeli public is angry and confused over what happened, and I am sorry about this.”
He also denied that he knowingly slept with an underage girl, saying she misrepresented herself.
“There was an embarrassing situation in which I told police that my father came to my house together with two women without my knowledge or my consent,” Golan said.
“One of the women said that she was 21 years old. I then became suspicious that this girl was younger. I asked her how old she was, and she acknowledged that she was just 17 years old.”
“At that moment, I immediately left the apartment in order to avoid doing harm to her honor,” the singer said.
He also put much of the blame on his father, saying that one of the biggest mistakes he made was letting his father back into his inner circle decades after he abandoned him as a child.
The case has led to a public backlash against Golan, who has seen concerts canceled and a serious downturn in the amount of airtime his songs get on Israeli radio. In addition, he was asked to step down from his spot as a judge on the reality show The Next Star