Justice Minister grilled over sexual harassment charge

Ramon spokesperson says justice minister answered all of the police's questions and cooperated fully.

By ETGAR LEFKOVITS
July 26, 2006 17:21
1 minute read.
haim ramon fixes his tie 298

ramon fixes tie 298. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
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Justice Minister Haim Ramon was questioned by police for more than seven hours Wednesday for allegedly sexually harassing a young woman, in the latest such scandal involving a senior Israeli politician. Ramon, who denies the allegations against him, refused to speak to the press following his daylong police interrogation. The young woman, who filed a complaint with police against Ramon earlier this month, told investigators that the 56-year-old minister tried to forcibly kiss her on the mouth after she asked to have her picture taken with him on her last day of work. Ramon's spokesperson said Wednesday that the justice minister answered all of the police's questions and cooperated fully with investigators, adding that Ramon was certain that he would be proven innocent. The young woman who filed the sexual harassment complaint used to work at a separate government ministry. On her last day at work, the woman, who has not been identified, asked to have her picture taken with Ramon, whom she knew superficially from previous work-related meetings. The young woman claims that after taking the picture in privacy, Ramon tried to kiss her aggressively, and penetrate her mouth with his tongue. The woman told police that she did not forcibly resist the minister's action since she was at a loss what to do with herself at the moment. The young woman did not immediately lodge a complaint with police after the alleged incident, but only did so later at the urging of a co-worker who noticed her crying. Ramon's associates insisted that it was the woman who tried to flirt with Ramon, and not the other way around. The Justice Minister was questioned "under caution," a legal term which means that the state can use the minister's testimony as evidence against him in the future. The interrogation comes as President Moshe Katsav is facing burgeoning allegations of sexual harassment by several different women. Katsav has denied all the allegations against him as well.

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