(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
Thirteen youths have been arrested by Tel Aviv Police on suspicion of gang-raping a teenage girl over the course of three years, police announced Monday.
The suspects, 12 of whom are aged 17, and one aged 18, of north Tel Aviv and Ramat Hasharon, are believed to have struck, sodomized and abused the victim, now aged 18, and recorded the abuse on their cell-phone video cameras.
The youths told police that all the acts were “consensual.”
Police launched the investigation last month after a concerned parent filed a complaint with the youth section of the Tel Aviv Police Central Unit.
The eldest suspect, who is the suspected ringleader, is thought to have manipulated the troubled girl’s affection for him. Police suspect he routinely took the girl to bomb shelters and public gardens, contacted the other suspects and encouraged the abuse.
Other suspects described the girl as being extremely obedient to the main suspect, saying she was his “soldier.”
Police suspect that the teens would put out cigarettes on her and
engage in other acts of violence when the girl resisted their attacks.
The girl did not wish to implicate the main suspect at the start of the
investigation, a police source said, adding that she nevertheless
confirmed that the suspected acts took place.
A Tel Aviv court extended the custody of all suspects until Wednesday, and a prosecutor’s statement was submitted on Monday.
Police have taken a critical view of the girl’s school and its failure to identify the ongoing abuse.
More arrests are expected in the future, police said.