9 teens suspected of alleged gang rape of 14-year-old girl

Victim says she was attacked on multiple occasions over 4-month period, in third high-profile case in recent months of suspected group sexual assault of a teenage girl

Illustrative. Handcuffs in a courthouse. (Abir Sultan/Flash90)
Illustrative. Handcuffs in a courthouse. (Abir Sultan/Flash90)

Nine teenagers are suspected of repeatedly gang-raping and sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in Israel’s center.

The suspects, ranging in age from 15 to 16, were arrested at the end of last month and were detained for more than two weeks before they were released to house arrest in recent days, the Haaretz daily reported, but details of the case were only cleared for publication on Tuesday.

According to Channel 12 news, the girl said she was raped on multiple occasions by the group of teenagers over a four-month period. She said that she originally met one of the teenagers through Instagram last August and was then introduced to his friends.

Some of the assaults were said to have taken place in the homes of the boys while their parents were home.

“I asked them to stop, but none of them stopped,” the girl said in her testimony, according to Channel 12. “They cursed and humiliated me, causing me pain and bruising. In the end I couldn’t stand the pain anymore, so I went to a hospital.”

A senior individual with knowledge of the investigation told Channel 12 news that it was clear that everything the girl said was backed up with evidence and that as a result they would be moving toward indicting the teens.

The nine teenagers will appear at the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday where police are expected to ask for an extension of their house arrest.

Nine out of 10 rape cases in Israel are closed by prosecutors without charge, according to an annual survey released last month, which also found a significant increase in reports of sexual assault and harassment to the authorities.

The report by the Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel found that in 2018, police opened 6,220 investigations into alleged sex crimes and harassment, including 1,166 of suspected rape, marking a 12% increase as compared to the previous year and a 40% rise from 2013.

Amid a rise in high-profile gang rape cases in schools, the report found that most victims (63%) of reported gang rapes in 2018 were underage girls between the ages of 12 and 18.

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