A CHILD abuse victim is portrayed in this illustrative photo.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Following a broad police arrest operation in which 22 men in Jerusalem and three haredi cities were detained, an indictment was filed on Wednesday by the State Attorney’s Office against one of of the suspects for indecent assault on minors while abusing his position of authority.
Last Monday, police arrested 22 suspected haredi sex offenders in the capital, Bnei Brak, Beitar Illit and Beit Shemesh, after details of their alleged crimes were discovered in documentation belonging to a haredi organization which deals with such issues within the community.
The crimes recorded in this documentation were not reported to the police or to the social welfare services.
Of the 22 arrested, seven were released while investigations into the other 15 are continuing and their detention has been extended.
The suspect indicted on Wednesday is a 38-year old teacher, and allegedly carried out indecent assaults against minors aged 14 at the time without their consent, in the yeshiva at which he taught in Jerusalem.
The police investigation led to the identification and location of two victims, now aged 17 and 19, who have given testimony to the police.
According to the indictment, one of the victims was abused on seven different occasions in two different rooms in the yeshiva, while the other victim was abused on one occasion.
The State Attorney’s Office requested that the suspect be detained until the end of the criminal and legal proceedings against him due to his danger to the public and a concern that he may interfere with the investigations and with witnesses if released.
Approximately six weeks ago, the police arrested the leading activist of a haredi organization which deals with sexual misdemeanours within the haredi community, seized records he had created and began conducting an undercover investigation into the perpetrators listed, using information gleaned from the activist himself during questioning.
The organization, with the approval of the heads of the various haredi groups and sects, conducts “internal processes” within the community regarding sexual crimes being perpetrated, and at the end of which decides what should be done in order to close the case and not to pass it on to the police.
In the majority of cases, the head of the organization would instruct the perpetrators to get some form of therapy within the haredi community and would record extensive details of the case and those involved.
Dozens of sex offenders within the haredi community have been dealt with in this manner, some of whom have committed crimes on several occasions and against several victims, none of which was reported to the authorities.
The criminal investigations into the remaining suspects are still underway, and a spokeswoman for the police said that more indictments were expected.