Elementary school teacher charged with molesting students
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Elementary school teacher charged with molesting students

Court says Meir Zehnwirth inappropriately touched at least 2 girls he taught at the talmud Torah school in Tiberias

Meir Zehnwirth was charged with indecent assault on minors while he taught at the Talmud Torah elementary school in Tiberias on July 31, 2017. (Israel Police)
Meir Zehnwirth was charged with indecent assault on minors while he taught at the Talmud Torah elementary school in Tiberias on July 31, 2017. (Israel Police)

An elementary school teacher at a religious girls’ school in Tiberias in northern Israel was indicted Monday for sexually assaulting his young students.

According to the Nazareth District Court indictment, Meir Zehnwirth, 27, allegedly committed a series of sexual offenses against two of his young female students earlier this year.

The court said Zehnwirth would make the girls stay behind after class or come to his office, where he touched them inappropriately or forced them to touch him inappropriately.

The court did not reveal the ages of the victims, and referred to them in the indictment only as minors under the age of 16.

“The defendant took advantage of their young age, his status as a teacher, and the trust the students placed in him in order to fulfill his sexual desires,” the indictment said. “The defendant committed indecent acts against minors under the age of 16 for the purposes of sexual degradation and his own arousal and gratification without their consent.

In the last two months, two other elementary school teachers have been indicted for sexually assaulting their minor students.

In early July, a 45-year-old rabbi and teacher from Bnei Brak was indicted on numerous counts of indecent assault of 13- and 14-year-old male students.

Shaul Shamai (c), suspected of molesting his students while acting as a substitute teacher arrives escorted by Israeli prison guards to the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court, June 13, 2017. (Flash90)
Shaul Shamai (c), suspected of molesting his students while acting as a substitute teacher arrives escorted by Israeli prison guards to the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court, June 13, 2017. (Flash90)

The man, who in 2016 taught in a school in Elad, was accused of taking the teens to private rooms and putting his hands down their pants, rubbing himself against them, and touching them inappropriately.

The Petah Tikva Magistrate’s Court indicted him on several counts of sexual assault on July 5 and sent him to house arrest.

Two weeks earlier, a substitute teacher from a Tel Aviv elementary school was charged with indecently assaulting several seven-year-old girls and one 13-year-old girl.

According to the indictment filed to the Tel Aviv District Court on June 22, 48-year-old Shaul Shamai committed a series of sexual offenses against four 7- and 8-year-old girls in front of the rest of the class.

The court said Shamai would sit the girls on his lap, put his hands under their clothes and touch them inappropriately, sometimes in the face of verbal or physical resistance. He was also charged with failing to report his previous sexual assault conviction to the school where he was employed.

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