Eighth woman testifies against Katsav

Police say there is enough evidence to press charges.

September 20, 2006 10:16
2 minute read.
Attorney General Menahem Mazuz 298

mazuz speaks 298.88. (photo credit: Channel 2)


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Just as police were nearing the end of the evidence-gathering stage of the sex crimes investigation of President Moshe Katsav, another woman came forward Wednesday with new allegations against the president. On the same day that police sources said they believed there was enough evidence to press charges against the president that would include two counts of rape and two counts of lesser sexual crimes, a woman who served under Katsav during his tenure as Tourism minister in the Netanyahu government claimed Katsav had harassed her and attempted to persuade her to have sexual relations with him. Katsav told the woman, she said, that he dreamt about her at night while lying in bed with his wife, and encouraged her to wear button-down shirts and skirts at work for "easier accessibility." Katsav's attorney Zion Amir responded to the new allegations by saying that "there are no bounds to humiliation, and no bounds to chutzpa," characterizing the woman as a disgruntled former employee. It's the same tack he has taken with the other complainants as well. The woman, Amir claimed, was fired from Katsav's staff in 1999 due to behavior that included screaming, putting down others and even breaking objects in the office. He also quoted a letter he said was written in the woman's own handwriting, sent to the president prior to Rosh Hashana in the same year that she was fired. In the letter, said Amir, the woman writes that Katsav "merits a warm corner in her heart" and says that she will continue to love him. Regarding the police investigation into sex crimes complaints against the president, police are reportedly preparing an indictment that will be ready within a month. According to reports from Channel 2 and Channel 10 news on Wednesday night, Katsav will be charged with two cases of rape and two cases of lesser sexual crimes. The police investigative team, led by Lt.-Cmdr. Yoav Segelovich, delivered its interim report to Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz and State Prosecutor Eran Shendar on Tuesday night, including a total of seven complainants. Some of the allegations fell outside the statute of limitations, however. Channel 10 reporter Baruch Kra said that in addition to the original plaintiff, "Aleph," police believe the allegations of another woman who charged that Katsav raped her while he served as Tourism minister between 1996 and 1999. According to previous reports, the woman - also known as "Aleph" because of the initial of her first name - charged that Katsav had forced her to have sex with him. Katsav has responded in public to the accusation of the second Aleph in the past, saying that she had asked to work for him after the alleged rape and had been rejected. "I don't understand how women who claim that I raped them ask to work for me," he reportedly told the investigators. The president has repeatedly stated that he sees himself as a scapegoat ever since he approached Mazuz to say that the first "Aleph" was attempting to blackmail him with the rape claims, which launched the investigation. Amir reiterated those claims Wednesday, describing the allegations made by all the women as a "crusade" against the president, and claiming that Katsav's legal team has strong documentary evidence against all the women. But in an interview on Monday, Mazuz cast doubt on those claims, saying that "it is a common argument that suspects raise that someone is plotting against them... but I don't think that is the case here." "(Katsav) has a long line of women who complained against him and therefore the chances that he has been made a victim of libel are slim," the attorney-general added.

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