starving mom 248.88.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimksi)
Children’s rights activists and organizations expressed outrage on
Thursday over a plea bargain struck between state prosecutors and a
mother from Jerusalem charged with knowingly starving her young son.
According to the deal, the mother will confess to child abuse offenses,
thereby evading a prison sentence. She will be barred from having
custody of her children for five years, during which time she will,
however, be able to meet with them during supervised visits.
The plea bargain must receive approval from a Jerusalem court on Monday
before going into effect.
“This is an outrageous plea bargain. It has resulted in an outcome that
is lenient in the extreme for the suspect,” Dr. Yitzhak Kadman, director
of the National Council for the Child, said in a statement Thursday.
“It seems that the blood of children in Israel is horrifyingly cheap,”
he said, warning that the bargain sent a dangerous message to potential
future child abusers.
“State prosecutors would not dare to make such a shameful plea bargain
in other offenses – even offenses considered lighter than child abuse,”
Kadman added. He lamented the common use of plea bargains in settling
child abuse cases, noting that 80 percent of these charges result in
such bargains, and called on the courts to reject them.
Responding to the fierce criticism, Jerusalem State Prosecutor Tal
Weisman said that the arrangement was guided mainly by a “a concern for
the welfare of the mother’s children.
“The suspect has six children and suffers from a serious disturbance,”
Weisman said, adding that the plea bargain would ensure that the
mother’s contact with her children will be supervised and monitored by
Social Services for years to come.
As the debate raged on Thursday, haredi Rabbi Avraham Froilich, who
along with members of the haredi community in Jerusalem has maintained
that the mother is innocent of all charges, called on her not to sign
the plea bargain.
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