School failed to protect brothers from pedophile

Sex offender found job as janitor when no background check was done.

A pedophile with a record of sexual offenses dating back to 1994 was able to rape and sodomize three brothers repeatedly in recent months because the Petah Tikva religious boys' school that employed him as a maintenance worker failed to run his name by police as required by law, police told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday. The suspect, Avraham Pikraz, 45, of Petah Tikva, had been tried three times in the past for sexual offenses involving minors, but psychiatric evaluations found him unfit to stand trial on each occasion. After recently "turning religious," Pikraz found a job at the religious school, where he proceeded to sexually assault three brothers aged 9, 11, and 15 on several occasions, after gaining their trust. Pikraz will be indicted on Thursday, but will not be required to appear in court, for his own protection, Petah Tikva Magistrate Nahum Sternlicht ruled on Wednesday. "By law, the responsibility for identifying sex offenders falls on their employers," Supt. Guy Jacobson, the Youth Officer at the Petah Tikva police department, said. "Every employer is required, on his own initiative, to obtain police approval for all employees who have access to children. Police are not called on to do this, the employers are. "Theoretically, if a yeshiva which teaches children under the age of 18 employs a renovation team, they must run the names of each employee past the police to ensure that they are not sex offenders," Jacobson said. It was too soon to say whether police would arrest the head of the religious school for not seeking police clearance for his employees, but failure to comply with the Child Protection Law is a criminal offense, Jacobson noted. While placing the blame squarely on the school, Jacobson also hinted that previous court dealings with Pikraz had failed to protect children. "This started in '94 and here we are in '09," he said. Pikraz's lawyer, Ein Tzvi, seemed to be leaning towards the psychiatric line of defense once again, telling the court on Wednesday that his client "had been hospitalized at a psychiatric clinic in the past," and requesting further evaluations. "Let's assume for the sake of argument that he is mentally ill," Jacobson said. "A court can demand that he be locked up in an institution for the mentally ill for 10 years or more. "It is the allocated time period inside the institution that is important," Jacobson said.