Scouts told to keep quiet about rape, violence

Police probing alleged rape, violence at summer course; Scouts leadership did not report case.

scouts 248.88 (photo credit: )
scouts 248.88
(photo credit: )
Police are looking into a claim that a series of abusive acts were carried out by members of a Tel Aviv branch of the Israel Scouts organization. According to an Army Radio report Tuesday, pupils from rival groups within the branch complied with a "Scouts tradition" during a course held in northern Israel by throwing urine at each other, wiping feces on one another, and penetrating one another's anuses with their finger while in shower stalls. An Arab youth who was subjected to these acts, and who had attempted to do the same to others, was prevented from doing so, and complained to his counselors, Army Radio said. The youths and their counselors were ordered by Scouts leaders to end their trip and return to Tel Aviv. "We have received a testimony from one of the people involved, and we passed it on to the northern police district," a Tel Aviv Police spokesman told The Jerusalem Post. "It would be irresponsible to say at this stage if there is a basis to suspect sexual abuse," he added. The Scouts released a statement on Tuesday afternoon acknowledging that "a series of inappropriate acts took place during a course. Some of the acts degenerated into severe pranks. Contrary to what has been publicized in the media, to the best of our knowledge this is not about rape or attempted rape." The statement said the Scouts had passed on all available information to the police, and contained a denial of an Army Radio allegation that the movement had attempted a cover-up. "At no time did anyone give an order to hide the incident. On the contrary, when the acts were exposed, conversations were held with course members and counselors… to ascertain the full facts and to deal with the issue on the disciplinary and educational levels," the Scouts said.