'5 policewomen complained Shaham harassment'

Report of harassment complaints "tip of the iceberg"; ministry: Reports "inaccurate," refuses to release more information

Nisso Shacham 390 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Nisso Shacham 390
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
The sexual harassment allegations against Jerusalem police head Asst.-Ch. Nisso Shaham continued to increase in severity on Sunday, as the media widely reported that at least five policewomen filed complaints against Shaham.
Widely-quoted sources said that the five harassment complaints are “just the tip of the iceberg” and called his sexual harassment “systematic” in the police force. The Justice Ministry’s Police Investigations Department slammed the reports, calling them “not only inaccurate but completely wrong” and accused the media of fabricating quotes from the investigation. A ministry statement said the high-level unit will maintain its silence to protect the integrity of the investigation.
On Thursday, the investigations department announced it had conducted a months-long undercover probe against Shaham and suspected him of sexual harassment, indecent assault and improper sexual relations. Shaham went on forced leave pending the completion of the investigation.
A Justice Ministry spokesman confirmed on Sunday that more than one policewoman filed complaints over Shaham’s conduct, but would not elaborate on any other aspect of the investigation.
The probe is further complicated by the fact that Shaham’s wife, career policewoman Dep.-Ch. Varda Shaham, was previously the number two person in the investigations department. She retired from the unit 10 years ago, though a Justice Ministry spokeswoman said the personal connection would in no way influence the investigation.
Dep.-Ch. Nissim Edri, the head of the Zion precinct, was also placed on administrative leave on Thursday due to the suspicion that he was aware of Shaham’s actions and did not take appropriate action as required by law.
On Thursday, police Insp.- Gen. Yohanan Danio appointed Manny Yitzhaki to the position of temporary police chief of the Jerusalem district. Yitzhaki was formerly Shaham’s deputy, until he left about a week ago to oversee the special police investigative unit Lahav 443. Shaham did not appoint a new deputy in the interim.
Danino briefly referred to the investigation on Friday by stating that “the Israel Police will not compromise on the values that are at the base of the organization.
“One law for the police officer and the commander – all are equal before the law.”
Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.