Former Jerusalem police chief Asst.-Ch. Nisso Shaham, , who was convicted of sexual harassment, fraud and breach of trust, will be released from prison early, the parole board decided on Thursday.
Shaham entered Hermon Prison in March, after being sentenced to ten months in prison and five months probation.
His investigation took years before Shaham was forced to take administrative leave in 2012. He was indicted on sex crimes charges in 2013 after eight different female police officers accused him of exploiting his senior position to carry out sexual relations with them against their will.
Shaham made decisions relating to the promotion or career status of the same eight women, which the court called a direct conflict of interest.
Some of these decisions included granting them leaves of absence to study and transfers to better or more desirable jobs in the organization. The sexual incidents took place in Shaham’s car and at police buildings, as well as at his house and his mother’s house.
In April 2018, he was acquitted of the more serious sex crimes with which he was charged.
He admitted to many instances of sexual intimacy with junior officers, but convinced the court that the encounters had been consensual or at the very least ambiguous.
At the end of that same year, he was sentenced to mere community service by the Tel Aviv District Court: 240 hours of community service and no jail time, to be exact, leading to mass public uproar.
However, in September 2019, the Tel Aviv District Court reversed the acquittal and sent the case back to the lower court for re-sentencing. This, after the prosecution appealed both the acquittals and the lenient sentence, and succeeded in convincing the district court of Shaham’s guilt.
In 2020, he was sentenced to 10 months in jail on the charge of sexually harassing female officers.
The Jerusalem Supreme Court rejected Shaham’s appeal in November of 2021, ruling that he had relationships with the policewomen. Nevertheless, he is expected to be released from prison in the coming days.
“The Parole Board presents: A get-out-of-jail-free card for sex offenders!” said Hagit Pe’er, chairperson of Na’amat, the Israeli Movement of Working Women and Volunteers. “Case after case: Ronen Biti, Moshe Ivgy, Alon Kastiel, and now Nisso Shaham, too. And these are just the cases with the high public profiles.”
She said that the board's choices are "outrageous" and that it has often not even listened to the witnesses, but rather prioritizes the sex offenders over the victims, time and time again.
"Such a significant shortening of the sentence, which is short in the first place, once again sends a painful message of tolerance and relief in severe patterns of behavior," said Einat Fischer Lalo, CEO of the Israel Women's Network.
"Such a significant shortening of the sentence, which is short in the first place, once again sends a painful message of tolerance and relief in severe patterns of behavior."Einat Fischer Lalo
"The Parole Board has the authority, by law, to take the public message being made into the account, as well as the deterrence and the damage to public trust. It's time it actually does so."
Ben Hartman and Yonah Jeremy Bob contributed to this report.