An Israeli couple was indicted Sunday for sharing non-stop video of their children to paying customers of a website, including intimate footage of the minors in their bedrooms and bathroom.
The couple, from the southern city of Eilat, installed 11 cameras around the house that broadcast constant footage of their 11-year-old daughter and two 14-year-old sons, in exchange for monthly payments from an internet site called watchme247, according to the charge sheet filed in the Eilat Magistrate’s Court.
The couple was charged with a series of offenses, including using a minor for obscene publicity, sexual harassment, and infringement of privacy.
The pair, who were not named, allegedly approached two men who launched and operated the site, which was initially promoted as a new kind of reality TV, streaming mainly sexual content from private homes. They agreed to install cameras in exchange for a monthly income.
The cameras recorded and aired 24 hours a day. At the time of their arrest, there were 11 cameras in the house: three in the bedroom of the 11-year-old daughter; two in the boys’ room; one camera in the bathroom; one in the parents’ bedroom; two in the courtyard; one in the living room; and one in the kitchen.
The cameras gave paying viewers unfettered access to everything that went on in the house, including intimate acts by the family members and guests in their home.
Users could access footage from a particular camera for a limited time, or could pay for services such as footage filmed in the bedrooms of various homes, access to a video library, and high-resolution photographs taken from the films.
The State Attorney’s Office stated that the decision to file an indictment against the parents stemmed from the extreme and exceptional harm of the defendants to the privacy of their children, over a long period of time, and for economic gain.
The indictment against the parents follows charges against the owners of the website, which were filed in January in Petah Tivka Magistrate’s Court. Those suspects — Benjamin Bar Sheshet, 46, and Ofer Sela, 45 — allegedly “pleaded with family members, including the minors, to walk around naked at home… in order to increase the appeal of the broadcast,” the court heard, and they threatened to cut off contact with the family if they did not do as they were asked. Under pressure, the family provided footage of sex acts involving the minors, which involved partial or full nudity and included scenes from the bathroom.
In addition, Bar Sheshet allegedly convinced the daughter that he would serve as her agent and turn her into a TV star. The two men are suspected of having carried out several filming sessions with her, dressing her in underwear and bathing suits, placing her in provocative positions, and focusing the camera on her buttocks and breasts.
Sue Surkes contributed to this report.