By Anna Sheinman (The Jewish Chronicle)
July 25, 2013
A father accused of leading the gang rape of his teenage daughter and using a snake and a gerbil during the attack has been found not guilty on all charges.
The Orthodox Jewish man was accused of sexually abusing his daughter from the age of 10. The now young woman also accused a family friend of raping her and joining her father in leading her gang rape, while she was drugged and bound, with a group of unknown men.
Following a month-long trial, both men were cleared of all charges after just five minutes of deliberation by the jury.
The family friend, speaking after the trial said: “I am relieved that this nightmare is finally over.”
He added: “That my co-defendant and I were hugged by members of the jury when we left court after the verdict says all you need to know about what the jury thought of the incredible allegations that we faced.”
His lawyer, Anthony Metzer, said: “The allegations against my client, a religious family man of exemplary character, were extraordinary and shocking and the jury must have found them to be fanciful and… without foundation.”
The lawyer for the father, Jonathan Goldberg, called the young woman a “sexy little thing” who was a “pathological liar”. He compared the situation to the Salem Witch Trials and said that the allegations were a “witch’s crucible”.
The father, 45, from north-west London, had already been found guilty of the sexual assault of his two stepdaughters in a previous trial but Mr Goldberg maintained in court that all allegations in both cases were a conspiracy cooked up between the two mothers and their friends. None of those involved can be identified for legal reasons.
Mr Goldberg said in court: “She is a feisty, confident young lady, who never once shed a tear, never once backed down,” and suggested she was “rather enjoying the battle of wits”. As for the girl’s psychologist and mentors, a US rabbi and his wife, Mr Goldberg said: “They’ve all been suckered by her.”
Three key pieces of evidence led to the acquittal in what their solicitor, David Sonn, called “record time”.
First, a gynaecological examination of the girl came back normal. It was suggested that this was unusual given that she claimed she had been raped with a spiked ball, a gerbil and a snake, and that her rapists had cut her private parts.
Second, the girl’s mobile phone records showed that on the two dates on which she alleged that the gang rapes had taken place, she was using her phone almost continuously.
In addition, the court heard that the locations at which the two defendants and the girl had used their phones on those dates did not tally with the girl’s claim about where in London she was taken to be raped.
Finally, it was the extraordinary nature of her claims, which involved a cage, electric shocks and claims of threats that she would be sold as a sex-slave, that sealed the case for the defence.
Mr Goldberg said in court that the girl had “logged into a website called ‘Brutally raped’ many times,” and added: “You’ve got all your ideas against your daddy from the internet.”
The father is due to be sentenced for sexual assault soon.