A CLASSROOM awaits its pupils..
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday extended for seven days the remand of a substitute teacher suspected of sexually assaulting young girls.
According to police, the teacher, 49, from Rishon Lezion, is suspected of indecently touching a “significant number” of girls in the second grade at a northern Tel Aviv school, as well as making sexually explicit comments. The assaults allegedly occurred on a number of occasions and over an extended period.
The teacher was convicted last month of indecent assault of a 12-year-old girl. However, in January, before his conviction, he was able to secure a police approval for teaching, as the law only prohibits this for those convicted of sexual offenses. After his conviction the suspect continued working as a substitute teacher.
The teacher denies the allegations against him. His attorney, Shai Roda, claimed in court on Wednesday that the suspect only touched the students’ clothes.
In extending the suspect’s remand on Wednesday, the judge said that there is a fear that he could harm other minors. “These were not innocent touches, but touches to intimate body parts,” the judge said. The judge also said that it did not matter if the touches were above or under the girls’ clothes.
The suspect was arrested on Tuesday after a seven-year-old complained to her mother of inappropriate touching. The mother’s complaint was sent from the school principal to the Education Ministry and then to the police.
In a statement on Thursday night, police said they approved the suspect’s teaching permit in accordance with the law.
“Employment permits are provided by the Israel Police in accordance with the provisions of the Prevention of Employment of Sex Offenders in Certain Institutions Law, 5761-2001. According to the provisions of this law, a person who does not have a conviction for a sexual offense will receive an employment permit or if there is no investigation or court proceeding to prevent approval under the law,” the police said.
“After examining his request, which is the subject of your inquiry, in accordance with the criteria set out in the law, the approval was given,” the police said.