August 19, 2008
A school principal in a West Bank settlement has been arrested on charges of indecent assault against dozens of his students, aged 12-14, Ynet has learned.
Married and in his late 40s, the man was brought before the Kfar Saba Magistrates' Court on Monday, where he was remanded for three additional days.
According to the police, the suspect repeatedly denied all the allegations in his interrogation: "There was nothing of the sort, I'm being framed," he said.
The investigation began following a tip-off regarding acts the suspect allegedly forced upon eight of his students. A covert investigation was immediately launched, but began to build up speed after an official complaint was filed last week by a resident of the settlement where the incidents allegedly took place – a psychologist who said she was contacted by a family claiming the school principal molested their son.
Chief-Superintendent Mark Amiel told Ynet that investigators sought the testimonies of two youths following the complaint. Amiel said that since the boys were both under the age of 14, their questioning was conducted by specially trained officers and welfare officials.
One of the youths testified that the suspect would sit him on his lap and touch his genitals. The boy recalled at least 15 such incidents spanning nearly two-year. Another student reported the same pattern of abuse.
"This is a difficult and complex investigation," noted Amiel, adding that most of the incidents appear to have taken place within school walls. "We know of another incident that occurred a month ago, while the students were away on a field trip," he said.
"The suspect took advantage of his position and the innocence of dozens of children, employing the same methods to molest them."
Amiel said that some of the parents asked to consult with the settlement's rabbi before cooperating with the investigation. The rabbi, on his part, has cooperated with investigators in full and has been deposed.
"This investigation has just begun. Over the next few days the picture will get a lot clearer. These are shocking incidents, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. We estimate it won't be long before we accumulate enough material to build a case for an an indictment."