Haifa man convicted of sexual assault on daughters

Abuse started when kids were 4, continued for many years in what judge calls "conspiracy of silence."

Rape victim (photo credit: Judy Siegel-Itzkovich)
Rape victim
(photo credit: Judy Siegel-Itzkovich)
The Haifa District Court on Thursday sentenced a 55- year-old man to 12 years in prison, after finding him guilty of sexually assaulting five of his young daughters over many years.
The defendant, who cannot be named, has eight children and belongs to a religious community, details of which cannot be published. He was convicted of several counts of sexual offenses, including sodomy during rape, indecent assault and sexual humiliation of a minor. The offenses began when the daughters were aged between four and five and continued for years.
The years of sexual abuse came to light when the defendant turned to a clinical social worker for treatment.
The social worker went to police to report the matter, as he was legally obligated to do.
Probation officers investigating the defendant’s history found that he had traveled abroad with his family when he was very young and during his several years there he found it difficult to adapt to his surroundings and was was sexually assaulted by other children because of his Jewish origins. The probation report assessed the defendant as dangerous.
When the court heard arguments for sentencing, the defendant’s lawyer said that while recognizing the severity of the offenses, the defendant’s family was suffering financially since their father’s arrest and noted that a community rabbi had said the daughters would find it hard to find marriage partners if their father was in prison for a long time. The defense also noted that some of the defendant’s daughters also wrote letters to the court asking for leniency.
In his statement to the court, the defendant emphasized his childhood sexual assault, and his desire to be treated including by castration.
He said he could not forgive himself but said a prison term would harm his family.
However, the panel of three judges – Yosef Elron, Moshe Gilad and Menahem Raniel – said while the court did not ignore the family’s difficult situation, that had arisen entirely because of the defendant’s actions. Rather than protecting his daughters, he had “turned himself into someone who harmed them for his own satisfaction.”
“The female family members in this case kept silent for years,” Elron said. “This was a conspiracy of silence, such as so often accompanies an incestuous relationship between a father and a daughter.”