Thirty suspected pedophiles appear before court

Remand sessions held behind closed doors to protect suspects identities; law enforcement wanted open remand sessions.

arrest  311 R (photo credit: REUTERS/Eric Gaillard )
arrest 311 R
(photo credit: REUTERS/Eric Gaillard )
Thirty suspected pedophiles appeared before the Ramle Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, two days after they were arrested in the largest police operation against sex offenders to date.
The remand sessions continued well into Thursday evening. Some of the suspects were ordered to remain in custody until Sunday. A few were released.
The court heard the remand sessions behind closed doors at the request of the attorneys of the suspected pedophiles – in a move designed to protect their clients’ identities A police source familiar with the investigation said law enforcement would have preferred to hold the remand sessions openly.
“We want to name the suspects, in order to see if others come forward after recognizing them,” the source told The Jerusalem Post.
The arrests came after police spent three months posing as a young girl and a young boy in popular online chat rooms, attracting the attention of offenders who lurked on the sites and preyed on minors.
After getting their targets to enter personal one-to-one chats, the suspected pedophiles made phone contact, and the calls were answered by an undercover female officer pretending to be a child.
Police were shocked at the ease with which innocent online conversations quickly became perversely sexual.
In some cases, suspects carried out lewd acts on web cameras, and encouraged sexual acts on the part of the children they believed they were talking to.
In other cases they sought to arrange a meeting for the purpose of having intercourse with minors, and were filmed by police waiting at meeting points and speaking on the phone with the undercover officer. One suspected pedophile allegedly arrived with condoms.
“We want to distance sex offenders from the kids, increase our deterrence against them and raise the alertness of parents to the dangers inherent in home computers,” Central district police chief, Cmdr. Bentsi Sao, said earlier this week.