Supreme Court gives Haredi man harsher penalty for sexually abusing 3rd grade age daughter

The man, whose identity along with victim's, are under a gag order, had been sentenced to only 24 months by the Haifa District Court.

Rape [illustration] 370 (photo credit: Ingimage)
Rape [illustration] 370
(photo credit: Ingimage)
The Supreme Court on Monday granted an appeal by the prosecution to order a harsher sentence of 45 months in place of 24 months for a haredi man who sexually abused his daughter at a young age – as early as when she was in third grade.
The man, whose identity along with the victim’s identity are under a gag order, had been sentenced to only two years by the Haifa District Court.
Justice Neal Hendel wrote: “The father, who educated his daughters in an exact and careful manner regarding the pillars of religion, changed his skin in the night.”
Hendel added, “From an overall view, taking into account the length and continuing period of the actions and the significance of their impact on the victim, [but also] that the actions which occurred were not that severe as a lenient consideration, it appears that the punishment which was imposed on the appellant is not commensurate to the severity of his actions. This is on the basis of court decisions and applicable legislative provisions.”
In the underlying trial before the Haifa District Court, the daughter, now 14, claimed that her father had sexually abused her at night while she was trying to sleep, on an ongoing basis for three years, from third to fifth grade.
Her testimony was supported by her mother; her older sister who witnessed at least one incident – the last one, in 2010; and various social workers who interviewed all of the involved witnesses.
The father claimed the allegations were false, stating that his daughter was too young, tired from sleep and otherwise confused to be trustworthy.
Moreover, the father pointed out that his version of events had no inconsistencies and was clear on all of the details, whereas his daughter's version had inconsistencies and many areas where she was uncertain, such as whether he had abused her throughout the year or only during the summer months.
Even if the allegations were true, he noted that his daughter only accused him of touching her with a finger, which he said made the actions less severe than the crimes alleged against him.
The Haifa District Court accepted the daughter’s version of events in convicting the father, because among other things, her allegations against her father did not appear exaggerated and could have been much more severe – as in some other cases of paternal abuse.
However, the father had been accused of one incident of abusing the older sister, who is now 17 but was still under 16 at the time of the allegations.
The court exonerated the father of that allegation, finding that while most of the allegation rang true there was enough doubt for an acquittal, since it was a one-time incident and might have just been some kind of misinterpreted physical contact.