3 teens found guilty of sexual offenses against youth

Acts occurred when American-Israeli was in jail; Mother tells 'Post': My son can finally sleep.

By
July 18, 2011 17:17
3 minute read.
Illustrative photo

Prison jail generic. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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Three youths were found guilty by the Haifa District Court of severe sexual offenses and abuse against an American- Israeli teenager who had been wrongly sent to the Kishon Detention Center near Haifa in November 2009.

The youth, “Shin,” who recently turned 18, was brutally gang-raped by juvenile inmates at the prison after being placed in a cell together with them for a weekend while waiting for a remand hearing, the court found.

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The defendants are three minors from Hadera, Haifa and the village of Machar, near Acre. They were found guilty of aggravated sodomy, aggravated assault – which took the form of piercing Shin’s ear with an electric cable to mark him as a “slave” – and disrupting an investigation.

They are due to be sentenced later this week.

“We hugged and cried together,” Shin’s stepfather, Lior, told The Jerusalem Post after the verdict was read.

“I’m overwhelmed. I know it’s good news – but emotionally, I’m devastated. This is a vindication for my son. It’s closure for him. But it’s still been very rough emotionally.”

Shin’s mother said, “There were so many attempts to doubt my son. He was accused of lying so many times. That hurt. But justice has been done in Israel. I don’t care how long it took. I really hope those kids get therapy, so that they don’t go out and do this ever again.”



The family was “happy because after a year and a half, my son can finally sleep,” she said.

Shin’s nightmare began on November 18, 2009, when he was arrested in Karmiel while waiting outside the home of his girlfriend for her to return. A neighbor who became suspicious of his presence contacted police.

A subsequent investigation by the Justice Ministry’s Police Investigations Department concluded with the prosecution of three policemen on charges of hitting Shin while he was in their custody. Their trial is under way.

After Shin’s arrest and an interrogation session, the Acre Magistrate’s Court extended his custody by four days and sent him to spend the weekend at the Kishon Detention Center.

“Kishon is a place with experiences and characters you never want to come across,” Amir Melzer, an attorney representing the family, said.

“Three inmates decided to perform a ceremony to show Shin who was in charge. They beat him... pierced his ear, and raped him,” the attorney said.

On Sunday, November 22, 2009, Melzer was hired by the family to represent their son, and met Shin for the first time in the Krayot Magistrate’s Court in Kiryat Bialik.

“His feet and hands were cuffed. He’d bitten his nails clear off. He told me in a broken voice that he had been kept in a small cell in a vehicle for six to seven hours before court. I could see something terrible had happened,” the attorney said.

“His ear was swollen and had fluid dripping from it. I asked him, ‘What happened?’ He broke down and told me everything. I shook when I heard it,” Melzer said.

“The judge almost cried when she saw his condition,” he added.

In their verdict on Monday, the head of the three-judge panel, Yosef Elron, said experts called in by the prosecution presented a convincing account of the abuse Shin had endured, and that his injuries, documented by a doctor, constituted external evidence that backed up his account.

Elron was unconvinced by claims made by experts brought in by the defense to cast doubt on Shin’s account. The judge also said that doctors and a social worker who examined Shin found him to be “suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder that was highly likely to have been been caused by sexual assault.”

After the assault, Shin was taken to the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa to receive preventative medicine against HIV.

The “defendants all took a direct and active part in the sodomy and assault,” the court said.

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