A prominent gynecologist from Haifa was arrested Monday evening on suspicion of serial rape after multiple testimonies by women surfaced online in the past week.
Guy Rofe, 44, was arrested after three former patients in their 20s filed complaints of rape, sexual harassment and indecent acts, the Israel Police said in a statement.
The Haifa Magistrate’s Court extended his remand by six days on Tuesday, rejecting a defense request to send him to house arrest. The judge said there was concern he could disrupt the investigation if out of custody, and dismissed the argument that media reports on the matter could affect the court’s judgment.
At least 15 women have recently testified on social media or in Hebrew media about a pattern in which Rofe would obsessively send them private messages with sexual content, while crossing boundaries during treatment sessions.
That included touching patients against their will; inserting fingers; pressuring them to hug him, kiss him, take off their clothes or take unnecessary mammography tests; making sexual advances on them; and in one case, offering a woman a job as a secretary that would require her to regularly have sex with him.
Rofe, who has tens of thousands of Instagram followers and has posted many viral posts about gynecology, informed all his patients Sunday that he was stepping down from his medical work “due to personal circumstances.” He didn’t say whether it was a temporary break or a permanent move.
Rofe’s lawyer Zion Amir declined to comment on the arrest. He has previously decried the “false” testimonies as a “witch hunt” against his client.
One of the women who filed police complaints said that since the arrest, “I have been feeling immensely relieved.”
The woman, who has been named in the press by the pseudonym Avigail, said she was “pleasantly surprised” at the seriousness with which the police were treating the issue, calling for more victims to file formal complaints.
In a separate case, a 63-year-old gynecologist from the Galilee town of Yafa an-Naseriyye, near Nazareth, was convicted last week of two counts of rape and one count of indecent acts and sexual harassment committed in 2015-2016.
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Elias Khoury, who has 25 years of experience, is the former deputy manager of the gynecology department at Nazareth’s Holy Family Hospital and has a private clinic in his hometown as part of the Clalit health provider.
Two women in their 20s said Khoury performed tests without covering their bodies and while performing abusive acts, asking irrelevant and invasive questions, and making unprofessional comments about their bodies.
Haifa District Court judges noted the “grave mismanagement” of the case, which saw Khoury allowed to continue his work as normal after the first complaint was filed against him. It also saw the disappearance of some recordings of Khoury and his victims.
They said they had been convinced of Khoury’s guilt “beyond any reasonable doubt” after he made “absurd” claims during his court testimony.
Khoury’s lawyer Avigdor Feldman accused the judges of ignoring “credibility problems” in the accusers’ testimonies, publishing a “one-sided” summary of the verdict to the press, and believing the women only out of fear of public backlash.
“The conclusion is that in the MeToo era, there is no chance of the court believing him and ruling that the complainant lied,” he said.
Both victims told the Walla news website that they hadn’t come to the court to view the verdict since it was too emotionally difficult for them and they have been struggling for years to overcome the saga.
One of them said it even brought her and her husband to the verge of divorce, after she went ahead with the police complaint despite her husband’s pressure not to make that move.