Police probing pro soccer players for statutory rape, after sex with teens
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Police probing pro soccer players for statutory rape, after sex with teens

Associates of 2 Maccabi Tel Aviv players tell newspaper the girls told them they were above the age of consent, but one of them denies that: ‘We weren’t asked our ages’

Illustrative: Maccabi Tel Aviv fans during the UEFA Champions League playoff round second leg soccer match between Switzerland's FC Basel 1893 and Maccabi Tel Aviv at Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv on August 25, 2015 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Illustrative: Maccabi Tel Aviv fans during the UEFA Champions League playoff round second leg soccer match between Switzerland's FC Basel 1893 and Maccabi Tel Aviv at Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv on August 25, 2015 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Police on Friday interviewed two teenage girls as part of a statutory rape investigation into suspicions that two soccer players on one of the country’s top professional teams had sexual relations with minors, Hebrew media reported.

According to a Channel 13 news report Wednesday, Maccabi Tel Aviv received a complaint the players had sex with girls who were younger than 16-years-old, the age of consent in Israel. The network said the high school where the girls study also received the complaint.

The players said they met the girls at a party hosted by another Israeli Premier League player, where they exchanged numbers. They later met at the house of one of the players, where they had sex, the report said.

On Friday, Channel 13 reported police were probing if the players had sexual relations with the girls on more than one occasion, as well as if there were other soccer players involved.

Police were also reportedly concerned about online bullying of the girls.

Associates of the players, who haven’t been publicly named, told the Haaretz daily the girls presented themselves as 17, adding they have text messages proving this.

“The two players didn’t commit a crime,” the attorneys of the players said, adding they have “unequivocal evidence” proving their clients’ innocence.

However, one of the girls denied Thursday they lied about their age.

“They’re lying. We never said we’re 18 and we weren’t asked our ages,” she told Channel 12 news. “The soccer players knew we were high school students.”

She added, “I’m really hurt. I understand I was taken advantage of.”

The punishment in Israel for statutory rape of a minor between 14 and 16 is up to five years in prison.

Maccabi Tel Aviv said it was aware of the reported suspicions against the players but wouldn’t comment further.

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