The Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday extended the remand of a substitute teacher suspected of molesting and sexually harassing second grade girls at a local elementary school.
The man was named as Shaul Shamai, 49, from Rishon Lezion, near Tel Aviv.
Judge Hayuta Kochan denied the defense team’s request that Shamai be released to house arrest, saying the number of girls who complained that he sexually abused them had risen from four to 10 since the start of his trial last month. Nine of the complainants are students in the school and the tenth is over 14.
Kochan also said that Shamai had actively tried to obstruct the police investigation into the suspected abuse, and intentionally concealed his criminal past in order to get a job at the northern Tel Aviv elementary school.
“He is a sophisticated criminal who knowingly concealed the fact that he had been convicted of a similar sex offense in order to pave the way for him to be in close proximity to minors,” she said.
Kochan ordered Shamai remanded in custody for another week.
According to reports, Shamai made a number of sexually explicit comments toward some of the girls as well as having allegedly inappropriately touched a number of them during a class.
Shamai denied molesting the girls, saying his contact with them was entirely appropriate.
The incident came to light after one of the girls complained to her mother. It then emerged that Shamai was convicted last month of indecent sexual acts against a girl he tutored from when she was 12 until she was 15.
In January, before his conviction, police gave him permission to keep teaching. That decision was not amended after he was convicted last month. He had been set to face sentencing in October for his earlier offenses, Ynet reported.