Last week (Wednesday), Magistrates Court in Beersheba sentenced a Yeshiva high school teacher to 18 months in jail, 12 months probation, and a fine of 50 thousand shekels to be paid to each of the boys he abused. He had been convicted of five counts of indecent assault.
The first incident occurred in 2012, when the teacher called one of the students to his room, asked him to undress, and the boy relented. This incident was repeated on other occasions, when the teacher asked the child to undress and rub his penis. In another case, he arrived at the student’s room in the morning in order to wake him, but proceeded to molest him as well as another boy.
The teacher has confessed and was convicted.
Three series of questionings done by the law officials offered some personal information about the abuser. He hails from a Daati Leumi family and was exposed to difficult circumstances throughout his military service that left a big impression on him.
The teacher accepted responsibility for the actions and expressed remorse for the harm done to the children. He claimed that he did not do the indecent acts for sexual arousal, but as a rebellion against the religious establishment. His probation officer, however, believed that the base acts were sexual urges, including homosexual attraction, which has been incorporated into his therapeutic procedures.
The probation officer was impressed by the abuser’s motivation to pursue treatment, and his opinion was that he underwent significant and positive treatment, leading to him being less of a threat. To complete the treatment, the probation officer recommended a punishment that would allow for a continuation of the rehabilitative process – community service. He also recommended that they determine a financial compensation to be paid to each of the victims.
The teacher was sent for danger assessment, and there they concluded that he is defensive and manipulative with massive denial of his aggression. However, he had expressed motivation to integrate treatment. His sexual dangerousness was assessed as medium to high, and it was determined that continued integration therapy would be beneficial.
The sexual abuse left the victims sad, anxious, and lonely.
Court surveys were also filed for the victims of the crime. The first student comes from a family of 18 in the Daati Leumi sector. The family had been evicted from their home when their father had to close his business, leaving his family without a livelihood.
The boy needed help in school, and had a close relationship with the accused. The boy and his friends admired the abuser. The child disclosed that he had been sexually abused only once it was revealed that the teacher had harmed another student as well. Since the abuse, the boy had become withdrawn, had started to experience tantrums, and lost trust in others.
The other victim also came from a Daati Leumi family. His father was tragically killed and the boy struggled to accept his death. The sexual abuse left the child depressed. He stopped eating and experienced a severe crisis of confidence, distancing himself from religion.
The encounter with the abuser led him to confusion, and he and his family were pressured to cancel their complaint, due to the fact that the teacher was a revered figure in the community.
The series of questioning showed that the teacher chose his victims by no accident, grooming children from families who had experienced other traumas.
Court: The punishment must reflect the revulsion and shock of such public acts.
The court ruled that the offenses committed by the teacher are particularly serious, because the victims were minors and because he was a revered figure and educator. Likewise, he committed the crimes against victims who were already in a fragile state: the first, due to his family’s eviction from their home and economic collapse, and the second, due to the death of his father. Thus, the damage was particularly powerful and hard.
After the court examined the above considerations, they sentenced the defendant to 18 months in jail, to 12 months of probation over three years, and to pay a fine of 50 thousand shekels to each of his victims.
They also charged the defendant to participate in any treatment offered to him and banned him from holding any job connected with educating minors.