Police to question soccer player over sex abuse video

Police to question soccer player over sex abuse video

Beitar Jerusalem striker Antony Varenne one of four men filmed abusing apparently passed-out woman

Beitar striker Antony Varenne. (YouTube screenshot)
Beitar striker Antony Varenne. (YouTube screenshot)

Responding to an official complaint from a lawmaker on Sunday, police said they would question several soccer players over a video apparently showing them sexually abusing a woman.

Antony Varenne, a striker for the Premier League Beitar Jerusalem club, was one of four men seen in the video, which circulated widely last week, apparently having sex with a woman who appeared to be passed out, while singing, laughing, and humiliating her.

MK Merav Micaheli tweeted that she had lodged a formal complaint with police, asking them to investigate the incident and called on the attorney general to ensure offices followed up on the case.

“The Israel Police is still considering whether to open an investigation or summon the player to testify, and in the meantime he continues to play in matches as usual,” she said. “The crime described is serious and horrific, so I filed a complaint with the Tel Aviv District Court together with photographic evidence.”

A statement from the Israel Football Association on Thursday said it had decided, after checking with lawyers, not to summon Varenne for a disciplinary hearing. “We expect soccer players, and everyone else, to behave properly and with respect,” the statement said.

The video was filmed several years ago, before Varenne played for Beitar.

Benny Ben Zaken, manager of Jerusalem’s premier league Beitar soccer club. (YouTube screenshot)

Varenne, who is French-Israeli, said, “I screwed up. It happened once and will never happen again. I’ll have to live with the shame all my life. Whoever knows me knows it’s not what I’m like,” Hadashot news reported Thursday.

According to the Walla news site, Varenne told friends that someone had already tried to blackmail him in connection with the clip, and that he feared there may be more footage.

Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev said Thursday she was shocked to hear about the film.

“There’s no place for such contemptible behavior toward women,” she said.

Sue Surkes contributed to this report.

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