Outrage at 'child-starving mom' deal

According to plea bargain, Jerusalem woman will evade prison sentence.

starving mom 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimksi)
starving mom 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimksi)
Children’s rights activists and organizations expressed outrage on Thursday over a plea bargain struck between state prosecutors and a mother from Jerusalem charged with knowingly starving her young son.
According to the deal, the mother will confess to child abuse offenses, thereby evading a prison sentence. She will be barred from having custody of her children for five years, during which time she will, however, be able to meet with them during supervised visits.
The plea bargain must receive approval from a Jerusalem court on Monday before going into effect.
“This is an outrageous plea bargain. It has resulted in an outcome that is lenient in the extreme for the suspect,” Dr. Yitzhak Kadman, director of the National Council for the Child, said in a statement Thursday.
“It seems that the blood of children in Israel is horrifyingly cheap,” he said, warning that the bargain sent a dangerous message to potential future child abusers.
“State prosecutors would not dare to make such a shameful plea bargain in other offenses – even offenses considered lighter than child abuse,” Kadman added. He lamented the common use of plea bargains in settling child abuse cases, noting that 80 percent of these charges result in such bargains, and called on the courts to reject them.
Responding to the fierce criticism, Jerusalem State Prosecutor Tal Weisman said that the arrangement was guided mainly by a “a concern for the welfare of the mother’s children.
“The suspect has six children and suffers from a serious disturbance,” Weisman said, adding that the plea bargain would ensure that the mother’s contact with her children will be supervised and monitored by Social Services for years to come.
As the debate raged on Thursday, haredi Rabbi Avraham Froilich, who along with members of the haredi community in Jerusalem has maintained that the mother is innocent of all charges, called on her not to sign the plea bargain.