Judges dismiss Katsav defense and accept victims’ testimony

Court: Katsav’s version riddled with lies; took advantage of his position of authority to harass victims; convicted him of rape.

katsav enters court 311 (photo credit: Ben Hartman)
katsav enters court 311
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
The trial of former President Moshe Katsav, which ended Thursday in a guilty verdict on all but one of the charges against him, was inevitably characterized by contradictory versions of events. The complainants said one thing and the defendant another. In the end the judges overwhelmingly accepted the victims’ testimony, and dismissed the ex-president’s:
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 • “Aleph,” who worked for Katsav when he was tourism minister, claimed Katsav raped her twice. The first time, she said, took place in his office in Tel Aviv, where he forced her to the ground and penetrated her against her will and despite her protests after they returned together from an event. The second time took place several months later, when he asked her to come into his hotel room in Jerusalem. “Aleph” claimed she entered Katsav’s room to find him standing with his shirt on, but not wearing any pants. She said he approached her on the bed, that in her effort to evade him she fell over, and that he pulled down his pants and raped her.
Katsav said that “Aleph” had made up the events because she was disgruntled over being fired.
The court determined that “Aleph’s” verbal and physical objections to Katsav’s advancements indicated that Katsav’s actions constituted rape. The judges adopted “Aleph’s” testimony fully and said that Katsav’s version was riddled with lies. The court found Katsav guilty on two charges of rape.
• “Heh,” who worked for Katsav while he was president, said that on three occasions Katsav hugged her in a sexual nature despite protests on her part.
Katsav began by claiming that no hugs had taken place, but later changed his version to say that he had hugged her, but that the hugs were not sexual in nature.
The court characterized Katsav’s testimony as inconsistent and ruled against him.
• “Lamed,” who worked for Katsav in the president’s office, claimed Katsav hugged her in a sexual manner during his 60th birthday party and that he directed lewd comments toward her on several occasions.
Katsav denied that the hug was sexual in nature and said that the comments he made were compliments.
The court found Katsav had taken advantage of his position of authority to harass “Lamed.” It convicted him on charges of committing an indecent act and of sexual harassment.