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Amid outcry, IDF expected to revoke pension of officer accused of 79 sex crimes

Lt. Col. Dan Sharoni reached plea deal with military prosecutors to be demoted, pay compensation and face possible jail time for filming dozens of soldiers without their consent

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

File: Lt. Col. Dan Sharoni, an IDF officer accused of of secretly filming his female soldiers, at a hearing at a military court in Tel Aviv, December 7, 2021. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
File: Lt. Col. Dan Sharoni, an IDF officer accused of of secretly filming his female soldiers, at a hearing at a military court in Tel Aviv, December 7, 2021. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Israel Defense Forces chief Aviv Kohavi is expected to revoke the army pension of an officer facing 79 counts of sex crimes, the military said Wednesday, amid outcry over a favorable plea deal the officer was expected to sign.

In December, Lt. Col. Dan Sharoni was indicted for filming dozens of his female subordinates while they were nude without their knowledge and collecting sexual images of soldiers and some civilians over the course of at least eight years.

The IDF said Wednesday that Sharoni had reached a plea deal with military prosecutors, confirming some aspects of a Monday report by the Ynet news site.

The arrangement, subject to the approval of a military tribunal, would see Sharoni demoted to the rank of private, and he would be subject to pay compensation to the 49 victims, totaling NIS 250,000 ($72,000), the IDF said.

Prosecutors have also demanded he be jailed for a number of years, though this may be replaced by house arrest or parole, subject to an assessment of his risk and rehabilitation programs he may be put through.

Ynet reported that the officer would be given a military pension despite being too young. To enable that, his sentencing trial was scheduled for April 2024, until when he would remain an officer, the report said.

The report that Sharoni could benefit from the military’s generous military pension plan sparked a furor.

“The plea deal does not include an agreement regarding the payment of the retirement pension,” the IDF said in a statement Wednesday, adding that Kohavi was likely to deny Sharoni the pension package.

“The chief of staff’s position is that in a case of this kind, the defendant should be deprived of the right to a pension due to his serious acts,” it added.

IDF chief Aviv Kohavi speaks at a ceremony marking the change of the Home Front Command’s chief, July 17, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

“On the other hand, as in previous cases, members of Sharoni’s immediate family will be able to request an allowance, which would be paid to them only, and directly, without the defendant receiving it,” the IDF added.

The IDF said prosecutors updated the victims on the plea deal, the majority of whom, 29, supported it.

According to the December indictment, Sharoni used a variety of hidden cameras, including some placed inside phone chargers, to film soldiers under his command, often installing them in their barracks and showers. He was also accused of taking soldiers’ phones for seemingly innocuous reasons and looking through them to see if they had nude or intimate photos on them and then copying them to his own device.

The indictment included the cases of 49 victims, both female and male, though there may have been others. The majority were soldiers, though he also installed the devices in homes, including his own, and thus also filmed civilians. In addition, he was accused of entering some of his victims’ rooms while they slept and masturbating while filming them.

Lt. Col. Dan Sharoni, who is suspected of secretly filming his female soldiers, in an undated photograph. (Facebook)

Sharoni has been dismissed from his position and has been in jail since his arrest in November.

Hundreds of photographs and videos of soldiers and civilians, either fully or partially nude, were found in Sharoni’s possession at the time of his arrest, the military said last year.

In many of the cases, the victims were soldiers and officers with whom Sharoni had close relationships.

The indictment was filed against Sharoni at a special military court at the IDF’s Tel Aviv headquarters. He faced 43 counts of privacy violation, 30 counts of indecency, one count of attempted indecency, three counts of illegally hacking a computer, one count of impeding the work of a Military Police officer and one count of conduct unbecoming a soldier.

According to the charge sheet, Sharoni committed his crimes from 2013 to 2021, while he served in three different units in the military.

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