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Man accused of raping 13-year-old at government-run COVID quarantine hotel

Suspect, 21, admits sex with child, claims it was consensual; police say he choked and beat victim as they stayed in facility for virus-infected young people

Screen captuer from video of investigator collecting forensic evidence from a quaratine hotel in Jaffa as part of a alleged rape case. (video screenshot)
Screen captuer from video of investigator collecting forensic evidence from a quaratine hotel in Jaffa as part of a alleged rape case. (video screenshot)

The Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court on Thursday extended by five days the remand of a man from southern Israel suspected of raping a 13-year-old girl at a Jaffa quarantine hotel for coronavirus carriers under the care of welfare services.

A police representative told the court that the 21-year-old suspect raped the girl twice and also choked and beat her.

The Welfare Ministry said in a statement that its staff at the hotel “intervened in real-time” during the incident and immediately reported to the police.

The suspect, speaking via video link, claimed during the hearing that the sex was consensual and that the girl had told him she was 16.

Police arrested the man on Wednesday night after receiving a report of sexual assault at the facility, which is used to quarantine confirmed COVID-19 patients from state welfare dormitories for young people unable to live at home.

Attorney Hagit Rahmani Weiss from the public defender’s office, who is representing the suspect, said her client had been in contact with the girl via the Instagram app, and that messages between the two would show the alleged victim invited her client to her room.

Weiss claimed the girl made the rape complaint after the man was discovered in her room in violation of the hotel quarantine rules, because she feared being punished for the infraction, Channel 13 News reported.

However, a police investigator told the court the girl denies asking the suspect to come to her room or agreeing to have sex with him. The girl also told investigators she tried to fend off the man but that he forced himself on her.

Police, who had sought to extend the suspect’s arrest by eight days, said he assaulted the girl on two other occasions during visits to her room.

The hotel has comprehensive security cameras installed, according to Hebrew media reports. Male and female guests are kept on separate floors and are forbidden from straying between the two.

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