(photo credit: Judy Siegel-Itzkovich)
Five teenagers from Tel Aviv sexually assaulted a female classmate during a period spanning six months in 2008, police said on Thursday, following the completion of an undercover investigation.
RELATED:'Nice girls don't get raped'Girl, 17, allegedly raped near Ben Avigdor street in TATA rape suspect may be serial offender
The girl, now aged 17, was 15 when the alleged offenses occurred.
The teenagers have all been arrested and released to house arrest, with the exception of one suspect, believed by youth officers to be the ringleader, who remains in custody after appearing before a Tel Aviv Youth Magistrate.
"The offenses were committed in gardens, bomb shelters, in the suspects' homes - wherever they could get away with it," a police source close to the investigation told The Jerusalem Post
"In addition to severe sexual assault, the suspects also threatened to harm the victim if she uttered a word to anyone. They are suspected of extortion through threats," the source said.
"It began when one of the teenagers, a ringleader, sexually assaulted the girl. He then brought other friends, and gradually the group expanded to five. They would take turns exploiting her. We have heard rumors that some of it was filmed, but there is no evidence for that," the source continued.
JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:
A number of suspects admitted to carrying out the offenses, while others have denied any involvement, police said.
The investigation began after police received information from a source whose identity is being kept secret.
All five suspects were indicted on Thursday at the Tel Aviv District Court.
The arrests come after a number of similar incidents were uncovered by police in recent months.
In March, 13 youths were arrested by police in Tel Aviv on suspicion of gang raping a teenage girl
over the course of three years in a case which shocked the country.
The suspects, of north Tel Aviv and Ramat Hasharon, were suspected of
beating, sodomizing, and verbally abusing the victim, now aged 18, and
capturing the abuse of their cell phone video cameras.
Police suspect that the teens would put out cigarettes on her and engage
in other acts of violence when the girl resisted their attacks.
In May, four teenage boys aged 13 to 17 were arrested in Bat Yam on
suspicion of subjecting a 12-year-old girl to repeated group rape over a
period of two years.
Police said the sexual offenses were carried out in an array of public places, including near the school attended by the youths.
Police launched an undercover investigation after the girl sent a letter
to her school principal last week detailing her alleged ordeal, in
which she asked, "how can I make this stop?" The school contacted Social
Services, which then filed a complaint with police. Youth officers from
Tel Aviv police's Ayalon station suspect that the offenses began when
the girl was ten-years-old.
Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>