The Central District Court decided to increase the sentence of Evyatar Gross, a teacher who was convicted for committing indecent acts against a nine-year-old on school property, to 20 months imprisonment on Sunday after he was originally sentenced to just nine months a few months ago.
“The court today looked into the victim’s eyes and corrected the invalid and difficult message that was conveyed to her, to the victims of crimes, to sexual offenders of children and to society as a whole with the mitigating sentence given by the Magistrate’s Court in Petah Tikva,” said attorney Liron Eshel, director of the Child Victim Assistance Center.
The Israel National Council for the Child helped the girl and her family in the legal process as part of services provided by the center.
“The decision to aggravate the punishment and send to prison a teacher convicted of committing indecent acts on several occasions against a 9-year-old student within the school grounds is the proper and required decision,” Eshel said. “Those brave and courageous boys and girls who expose sexual abuse deserve to know that there are those who see and hear them – and we need to guarantee them, and us as a society, justice.”
In September, the Israel National Council for the Child appealed the original decision by the Petah Tikva Magistrate’s Court to sentence Gross to just nine months in prison, calling it a “lenient sentence that doesn’t come close to the level of an appropriate sentence and doesn’t reflect the severity of the harm nor its circumstances.”
At the time, the mother explained that her daughter doesn’t want to go back to school or even hear about school.
“He is a revered figure in the school,” her mother told Channel 12 about Gross. “It has reached a point where he has captured the hearts of all the residents and population here. Even when it became known, they simply did not believe.”
The crime was uncovered last year after the girl told her friends that the teacher had shown her “where children come from.” One of her friends told her mother and eventually, the full story was uncovered.
For a period of three weeks, Gross would come to the girl’s classroom, ask to remove her from the class, bring her to an empty classroom and demand that she touch him and unclothe herself and warn her not to say anything.
The girl was not his only victim, according to Channel 12. Gross also reportedly committed indecent acts against a female student of his on a bus.