New sex crime allegation against LGBT activist

Woman who underwent sex change operation says activist linked to 2009 shooting at LGBT club tried to rape her 10 years ago.

June 13, 2013 12:07
2 minute read.
Memorial candles lit after 2009 shooting at the Bar Noar LGBT youth center.

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 surgery.

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.

Since his 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 allegation.

Police believe the activist was threatened by chief suspect Hagai Felician, then age 19, as well as his younger male relative who was allegedly abused.

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 anyone.

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 record.

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.

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