(This page has been translated from Hebrew to English. See the original article here:http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-4603358,00.html)
Three and a half years after she complained to the police that her father raped her, Vered Lev put an end to her life in Portugal. “There is no doubt that the failure of charges to be filed against her father affected her feelings,” said Charlie Guttman, the lawyer who handled the complaint filed by Lev. “She felt defeated, humiliated, and that she had no more purpose in her life, being that she was unable to bring those who she claimed hurt her to trial.” According to Gutman, “The legal system just abandoned it.”
In 2010, Lev testified that she was raped by her father since she was 3 and a half. “He raped me, it was painful. At first he would bring wine and cigarettes, making it a complete production,” she said in an interview with News 10. Lev tried to publicize the struggle of rape victims, including going on a hunger strike in front of the synagogue for two weeks, protesting the statute of limitations that applies to offenders of sexual offenses.
Lev said that after her mother found out what her father did, she banished him from the family home, but later agreed that he could come back home. “I wished myself to die,” she said then, “I pictured my grave.” Because charges were unable to be pressed against the father due to the statute of limitations, Lev’s mental health deteriorated.
Mr. Charlie Guttman, who handled the case against the father on behalf of the prosecution, heard the terrible news this morning that she had taken her own life. “In the end, we have this sad day,” he said this morning. “I heard her casket arrived today to Israel and the funeral will be today.”
Mr. Gutman notes that although they wanted to indict the father, 10 years had passed, and they therefore required special permits from the Attorney General. “The attorney delegated authority to the Deputy State Prosecutor, who was to give the permit but he did not receive it,” said Gutman. “It’s a badge of shame for the prosecution. They abandoned her and turned her back on, not only the family, but also the legal system.”
The prosecution’s response: “We regret the premature death of the complainant. This case concerns a complaint of sexual crimes committed in the family, which was closed at first because of the statute of limitations. Further, the prosecution asked from the police to continue to investigate the complaint. Due to the passage of more than ten years from the date of the offense, it was transferred in accordance with the request to approve the indictment to the Deputy State (criminal matters) of then, Mr. Yehoshua Lemberger.
“The evidence collected was examined by him, and a meeting was held in his office, which was invited to the complainant’s counsel late power also increased its claims. Then, and in order to maximize the possibility to establish a sufficient evidentiary basis, it was asked of the police to carry out further investigation completion, a second number. Ultimately, the Deputy State believed that the evidence collected did not base a reasonable chance of conviction as required for indictment. It was also explained to the complainant that the passage of time was not an obstacle in itself, but in this case there was also a shortage of evidence. Thus, no witnesses and documents were identified to support the complaint, even though things were examined thoroughly and precise.
“It is clarified that the decision of the Vice filed by plaintiff’s counsel late appeal, which was also rejected by the State Attorney – Mr. Moshe Lador. Reasons for the rejection were explained in detail on several occasions orally and in writing to the complainant and representatives.”
Attorney Tammy Ullman, who represented the father of Lev and the rest of the family, said in response: “At the time, the prosecution examined the allegations and saw no real substance. You cannot connect her suicide that happened many years after the girl was informed that the case was closed on the case closing. In any case this is a sad family and no doubt the parents wanted only her well. ”
A message from JCW:
Incest happens. When someone comes forward saying they have been abused by a relative, you have to believe them and do everything you can to help and support them. If you are a victim of child sexual abuse or incest, please know that you are not alone! You do do not have to give up, because we are with you. There is a beautiful life ahead of you, just don’t be afraid to reach out.