Parole board lets rapist nightclub owner out early provided he stay out of Tel Aviv

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

A prison parole board grants an early release for rapist and sex offender Alon Kastiel, despite strenuous efforts by state prosecutors and by his victims to prevent the panel from shortening his sentence.

Under the board’s ruling, Kastiel will be released shortly on the condition that he stays outside of Tel Aviv — the city where he committed his crimes and where some of his victims still live or work. The board says this decision is out of sensitivity to the victims’ “fears that they will meet the inmate on the streets of the city.”

The exact date will be decided once a clear plan for his release has been drawn up and agreed upon, the board says in its decision.

In 2018, Kastiel was sentenced to four years and nine months in prison as part of a plea deal in which he confessed to committing sexual offenses against four women. Over a dozen women had filed police complaints against Kastiel, including for rape. He was eventually convicted of one charge of attempted rape, forced indecent acts, indecent acts and sexual harassment.

Kastiel first applied for parole last August, but this request was denied. He applied again in May and his request was approved by the parole board, though this was later reversed by a district court following an appeal by state prosecutors.

Kastiel again requested an early release this month. During the hearing, two of his victims appeared and “expressed strenuous opposition to his early release,” as did state prosecutors.

“We are not blind to the views of the victims of the crime, but the circumstances of this case lead us to the conclusion that their positions should not be the deciding factor,” two of the three parole board members write.

A third board member dissents and opposes Kastiel’s release on the grounds that the victims’ fears ought to be the deciding factor.

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