Haifa man suspected of sexually assaulting boys

Man arrested for alleged sexual assault of at least seven boys between the ages of 13 and 17.

arrest  311 R (photo credit: REUTERS/Eric Gaillard )
arrest 311 R
(photo credit: REUTERS/Eric Gaillard )
A sexual predator spent the past three years assaulting teenage boys in Haifa, methodically selecting, grooming, and having his way with his victims, police said Wednesday.
The suspect, a 50-something resident of the city’s southern neighborhood whose name has not been cleared for publication, is believed to have sexually assaulted at least seven boys between the ages of 13 and 17.
Police said the suspect met the alleged victims in his neighborhood and spent time slowly building up their trust, before inviting them to his house, where he would sexually assault them.
When asked how the abuse was able to go on for so long without the victims’ parents noticing, a police source said that the victims all came from very poor, Ethiopian immigrant families and that most of the parents don’t understand Hebrew well, or were more often out working or unfamiliar with lodging complaints with police.
He added that most of the parents only found out about the story after police told them that their children had complained.
The case only came to light on Wednesday, after the Haifa Magistrate’s Court lifted a gag order on the investigation.
Police first caught wind of the suspect when they received a complaint from one of his alleged victims several months ago.
The police spokesman said the suspect exploited the victims’ low socioeconomic status, buying them sweets, computer games, and cash in order to get close to them.
The juvenile unit of the YAMAR investigative team’s Coastal region began interviewing residents of his neighborhood and eventually spoke to seven boys who said they were assaulted by the man.
On Wednesday the suspect was brought before the Haifa Magistrate’s Court, where they extended his remand until Sunday. In the meantime, police said the court will examine whether or not the man is fit to stand trial.