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Ofer Glazer, the husband of Shari Arison, is expected to go to jail for six months beginning October 17 after the Tel Aviv District Court on Tuesday rejected his appeal against a lower court conviction on charges of sexual harassment and assault.
"I did not find that the appeal established any cause for the court to intervene in the decisive and well-argued findings of the lower court," wrote presiding Judge Ze'ev Hammer. The other two members of the bench, Judith Shitzer and Rann Ben-Yosef, concurred.
On September 30, 2005, Glazer was sentenced by Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court Judge Ziva Herman-Hadassi to 18 months in jail, including six behind bars and 12 suspended, as well as a fine of NIS 10,000 and NIS 15,000 in compensation to both of the women he harassed.
Hadassi-Herman accepted the accounts of the two incidents as described by the victims: a woman in her 20s who came to rent an apartment in Eilat owned by Glazer and a nurse in her 40s who was assigned to look after Arison on the night after she underwent an operation. The first incident took place two days before Glazer and Arison were married, the second about three months later.
Glazer appealed against his conviction and the six-month jail sentence.
In his decision, Hammer wrote that the lower court's decision was essentially a function of the credibility of the plaintiffs versus that of the accused. The judge then addressed the main arguments presented by Glazer one by one and in each case accepted the conclusion of the lower court.
For example, Glazer's lawyer, Ofer Tzur, charged that the first woman had told her boyfriend and her mother about the incident immediately after it happened. However, she did not mention many of the details that she later included in her complaint to the police, which was lodged several months later. Tzur charged that the woman had embellished the story to police to make sure Glazer was convicted.
However, the district court accepted the lower court's ruling that the woman was reluctant to tell her boyfriend and mother everything that had happened to her and had not planned to complain against Glazer. She changed her mind only after reading in the newspapers about the allegations against him in connection with the second victim, a woman she did not know.
"The explanation of the woman regarding the 'gap', that is, the detail included in her complaint to the police as opposed to the 'laconic' account to Erez [her boyfriend] and her mother, is logical and reasonable," wrote Hammer. "From what she said, it appears that she did not want to tell anyone what happened and to just 'go on from there.' When she was forced to tell Erez after he saw the state she was in, or to explain to her mother why she was leaving her new [Glazer's] apartment, she told them only a few details, just the outline of the event. It was clear that the police could not suffice with a general and vague statement that the defendant had started up with her. The lower court was right in not regarding this as arousing doubt about the plaintiff's credibility."
Hammer also wrote that he had found no reason to intervene in the sentence handed down by Herman-Hadassi.
After the hearing, prosecuting attorney Hadas Forer said that "it is important to know and understand that the court fully endorsed the lower court decision, believed the plaintiffs and sentenced Glazer to time in jail. This is a clear message to other women to take courage and complain and a clear message to the public that it should know that anyone who commits a sexual crime will be put in prison."
Glazer's lawyer, Tzur, said he would appeal Tuesday's decision to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is not obliged to hear the appeal.