Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Eighth allegation of sexual assault filed against Israeli President

By Roni Singer-Heruti, Haaretz Correspondent
September 21, 2006

An eighth has been filed against President Moshe Katsav accusing him of sexual assault, it was revealed on Wednesday.

Channel 2 broadcast on Wednesday the testimony of one of the complainants, who has accused Katsav of assaulting her while she worked for him during his tenure as a cabinet ministera few years ago. She said the President sexually harassed her repeatedly, and tried to touch her inappropriately.

Her complaint, the second to have been filed, is one of the central allegations being considered by the investigative team into the matter. Her testimony was revealed some two-and-a-half months ago in Haaretz, along with the testimonies of four other complainants.

Katsav's attorney Zion Amir called the second complainant's testimony "a shocking story bordering on fantasy."

"The evidence that we have in our hands completely disproves this woman's testimony," he said, adding, "she was fired from her job and swore to seek revenge."

The team investigating President Moshe Katsav for alleged rape and other charges presented its intermim findings to Attorney General Menachem Mazuz on Tuesday.

Investigators believe the material collected so far contains enough evidence for at least three charges in the affair.

Based on the evidence it appears highly likely that at the end of the investigation, the team will recommend indicting Katsav apparently on three charges.

While the evidence is strong regarding the charges of sexual harassment, in the other matters, improper conduct in the granting of pardons and wiretapping of President's Residence employees, more evidence is needed. But police sources said there is some evidence on which to base these charges.

Most of the investigation, which started about two months ago, has been completed, and sources close to the investigation said the probe could end within a few weeks after which a decision could be made on an indictment. Contrary to rumors over the past few days, it was not decided in the meeting to hold a confrontation between the former staff member known as A. who claimed Katsav raped her, and the president.

Investigators said it would be enough for Katsav to take a polygraph test to prove his version of events.

At the end of Tuesday's meeting attended by State Prosecutor Eran Shendar, his assistant Shuki Lamberger, other senior Justice Ministry officials, and the head of the police investigation, Brigadier General Yoav Segelovitch, Mazuz instructed the investigators to requestion a number of individuals. Katsav is not expected to be questioned again.

Haaretz has also learned that the detectives on the case are expected to question individuals who have not yet given testimony next week. The team has been instructed to complete the investigation as soon as possible due to Mazuz's decision not to publish an interim report. Mazuz is expected to render a decision in two to three months.


Post a Comment

<< Home