Man arrested in retirement home rapes

Judge: 'What I saw will keep me awake at night.'

A 54-year-old man was arrested on Monday evening and charged with raping a number of elderly women at the retirement home where he worked in Kfar Saba. The suspect was brought before a Kfar Saba Magistrate for a remand hearing on Tuesday, and had his custody extended by nine days. "After reviewing the material, I conclude that there are reasonable suspicions linking the suspect to the acts attributed to him," said Judge David Gadol. "What I saw will keep me awake in the coming nights. These are most severe things," the judge said, expressing shock at the evidence presented to him by police in a secret report. "The court must offer full backing to the police," Gadol added. During the court session, police representative F.-Sgt. Avi Ben-Shabat said that the suspect, who cannot be named due to a media ban, "clearly tied himself to the charges. He has confessed. He was interrogated three times since being arrested on Monday evening." Ben-Shabat added that police were alerted to the alleged rapes by the old age home's manager. The media gag order prevents publication of the home's name or the identity of the victims. Deputy Pensioners Affairs Minister Dr. Leah Ness said, "This is one of the most horrific cases of exploitation and harm of the helpless. "The elderly women who were raped belong to a most weak group in Israeli society. The elderly in Israel have lately become a comfortable target for criminals, and time after time we hear about exploitation of this population and harm caused to them," Ness added. "Only last week it was Mrs. Malka Edri who was severely beaten in Bat Yam by a youth who tried to rob her. Investigations in these incidents must be sped up," she said. Ness called on judges to pass down heavy sentences on "criminals like these, as part of the effort to uproot this phenomenon."