candles commemorates LGBT center shooting 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Tel Aviv Police are investigating an additional sex crime allegation against a
prominent LGBT activist arrested last week in connection to the Bar Noar
murders, police confirmed on Thursday.
The complaint, first reported by
Israel Radio, was issued to police this week by a woman who said the activist
tried to rape her 10 years ago, before she underwent gender reassignment
The accused activist not suspected of being involved in the
planning of the murder; rather, police believe he sexually assaulted a relative
of one of the three suspects in the murder, who then plotted the Bar Noar
shooting as an act of vengeance. In the 2009 shooting at the gay youth center,
two people were killed and 11 wounded, most of them minors.
arrest, it has been assumed that police would try to convince the activist to
testify against the three suspects in exchange for immunity from the sex crime
Police believe the activist was threatened by chief suspect
Hagai Felician, then age 19, as well as his younger male relative who was
If such a threat took place, it would be a key piece of
evidence to indicate that the activist knew the suspects were looking to harm
him, and knew they could find him at Bar Noar.
So far, the activist and
the alleged victim have denied that any abuse took place, or that they ever met
each other, and it is unclear if there is any evidence a relationship existed
between the two.
At the moment, the police case hinges almost entirely on
the testimony of a single witness – a young gay man who grew up with the
suspects, and was serving a jail sentence when he told police he helped plan an
attack on Bar Noar, though he has stated he didn’t know they intended to kill
A police case whose foundation is the testimony of a single
witness should have a difficult time winning a conviction, especially when the
sole witness is a man with a checkered past and a long criminal
If the activist testifies against the chief suspects, police
could secure him immunity from the sexual abuse of the minor, assuming that
there was enough evidence to secure a conviction in that case considering both
sides deny they ever met. This additional sex crime allegation could potentially
complicate things for police in terms of convincing the activist to testify.