IDF officer sentenced to 1.5 years for secretly filming dozens of female soldiers

Court demotes Lt. Rom Abergil to private after he pleads guilty to 45 counts of indecent acts and attempted sexual harassment

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

Lt. Rom Abergil is seen at a military court hearing, on January 27, 2022. (Screenshot/Ynet)
Lt. Rom Abergil is seen at a military court hearing, on January 27, 2022. (Screenshot/Ynet)

A military tribunal on Thursday sentenced an IDF officer to 18 months in jail for secretly filming dozens of female soldiers in intimate situations over a two-year period.

Lt. Rom Abergil pled guilty to 45 counts of indecent acts and attempted sexual harassment. At least 30 victims were identified in the investigation, first published by the Ynet news site last year.

Additionally, the court, led by Judge Col. Shachar Greenberg, demoted Abergil to the rank of private.

According to Ynet, prosecutors had initially sought a three-year jail sentence.

During Thursday’s trial, Abergil apologized to his victims, saying he never circulated or intended to circulate any of the more than 1,000 images and videos found on his devices during the investigation.

“I created a parallel and distorted world and did not know how to distinguish between good and evil,” he was quoted as saying.

Abergil had originally been charged with 81 counts of indecent acts and attempted sexual harassment, but this was reduced in a plea bargain.

While the sentencing was lighter than what prosecutors had requested, Greenberg said deterrence was required amid similar cases seen in the military in the past year.

“A deterring punishment is warranted in light of the prevalence of the phenomenon and the availability to perform the acts by any person in possession of a phone,” Greenberg said.

Illustrative: Female soldiers of the Bardales Battalion during training, on July 13, 2016. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Abergil was accused of meticulously planning the secret photography of nude and partially clothed female soldiers “using an app that allows taking photos on the phone while it appears to be off,” Greenberg said.

The initial investigation found that Abergil edited the videos and photos he secretly took and kept them in organized folders.

Abergil’s sentencing follows two high-profile incidents of alleged sexual offenses against female soldiers.

Lt. Col. Dan Sharoni was indicted in December with 79 charges related to his alleged filming of dozens of his subordinates, while they were nude without their knowledge, and collecting sexual images of soldiers, as well as some civilians, over the course of at least eight years.

And also in December, an officer in an elite unit of the navy was charged with three counts of rape against another soldier in a case that roiled the service branch.

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