Ahron Shlomo Lyson (Lisson), 34, from Beitar Illit, was sentenced Wednesday to seven years in prison and two years’ probation for sexually assaulting his students. Lyson was a teacher in Ohalei Menachem in Beitar Illit, and was convicted last December of sexually assaulting three brothers, aged 13-15.
According to the indictment, in the years 2009-2014 Lyson invited the boys to his home, where he sexually abused them. In addition, he abused one of the boys twice in the mikvah. The court also ruled that Lyson must compensate the brothers in various amounts ranging from NIS 150,000 to NIS 80,000.
Prosecutor Yifat Pinhasi-Nevo of the Jerusalem District Prosecutor’s Office said: “The sentence expresses the gravity of the offenses committed by the defendant who abused his students for years, in the school, in the mikvah, in the synagogue and elsewhere. Instead of serving as a model for students, supporting and protecting them, the defendant took advantage of the students’ status, role and innocence and committed indecent acts against them since they were 13 years old. We recognize the victims who courageously exposed the obscene acts committed by the defendant, reported them to the police and testified heroically against the teacher who hurt them.”
In an interview with YNet, the mother of the boys said, “I thank the Creator and thank the court and the system that justice has been served and (the abuser) was punished. We are very moved and hope that this will give every other child the strength to report abuse and know that there is someone who protects them, believes them and hears them. Thank you to the judge who believed the children, and I hope that tonight they will be able to sleep better than they have for the past few years.”
In the three years since the indictment was filed, the family members were humiliated, ostracized and boycotted by their community. Rabbis choose to protect the teacher at the expense of the children with some even accompanying him to court. But the family’s determination, and the determination of others like them have led to the fact that it is slowly becoming clear in the haredi community that it is impossible to continue silencing the victims and protecting the abusers.
A TV report about the family from March 2016. Click “CC” for English subtitles.
“The punishment he received will never bring back to my children the years of childhood that they lost and the social life that was cut off,” added the mother. “I stand behind my decision to report (the abuse) and embark on this justice crusade, even though it was not easy, I participated in 59 hearings throughout the trial just to give my children the strength to know that Mama is always behind them.”
She lamented the fact that the trial dragged on for a long period of time, saying it hurt the children’s treatment and rehabilitation. “Instead of focusing on treatment and healing, they went to war for justice and truth. Lyson continued abusing the children during the trial when he tried to trample on them, denying his actions,” she said.
“It does not matter how many years he will sit inside, the damage he has done to the children will accompany them forever even after he is released, but it is very important that such people sit inside for as many years as possible and have a lot of time to think about their crimes. Who now can breathe a sigh of relief because of the courage and heroism of my children. It was a public war for us because we are talking about an educator with authority over children, and now maybe we will be able to start rehabilitating them, but they will never be like other children.”
Attorney Ariel Atari, who represents the defendant, said in response to the court’s ruling: “This is the decision of the court, but we think it is wrong. This is a family of greed and publicity that conducted this entire procedure only to finance the expansion of her home. We have shown countless evidence to prove that the family lied time after time. We have no doubt that the appeal that we intend to submit to the Supreme Court will be accepted and will determine that the complainants are liars and in the end Lyson will be acquitted. “
The chairman of the Committee for the Rights of the Child, MK Dr. Yifat Shasha-Biton, who followed the case and supported the family, said in response to the sentence: “Again, the children of Israel are not given the necessary protection, especially in the courts. As in many other cases, here too the punishment given to the defendant is ridiculous and does not reflect the severity of the morbid acts he committed. The defendant was a teacher, whom these children trusted and believed in. The time has come for the courts to impose maximum sentences on anyone who harms children and vulnerable people.”