State prosecutors will appeal the controversial decision to grant an early release to jailed serial sex offender Alon Kastiel.
Prosecutors in the Northern District are expected to submit a petition against the decision early next week.
On Monday a prison parole board decided to grant Kastiel early release. Kastiel, 40, a nightclub owner, was sentenced to four years and nine months in 2018 in a plea bargain that saw him confess to 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.
Women who were assaulted by Kastiel expressed their outrage and disappointment at the justice system; one of the women assaulted by Kastiel said she had heard about the early parole from media reports.
“I feel as though #MeToo has not yet reached the justice system,” said Ofri Yahav, referring to the international movement encouraging women to speak up about sexual assault.
“What outrages me is that he got leniency in the first place,” she said. She noted that though many women had filed police complaints, only four were of those included in the eventual indictment, and then a plea bargain was struck.
“Now he is being released after he didn’t even serve the quite-short sentence he got,” she told the Ynet news site.
“It bothers me” that Kastiel will be set free, Yahav said. “I am really scared that other women will be harmed by him.”
She said she has never received an apology or acceptance of responsibility from Kastiel.
Shari Golan, another victim, also said that she believed Kastiel still posed a danger.
“I think that when he returns to the outside world there will be many women who should be afraid,” she said.
Michal Levit, an alleged victim who never filed a complaint with police, told Ynet that she felt “a combination of fear and unfairness in the face of the incompetence of the system.”
“What makes them think that he won’t do it again if he did it so many times in the past?” she asked. “It feels a bit like a horror movie in which the evil person is brought back to life, gets up out of the ground and goes back to doing what he did.”
Defense attorney Rotem Tubul said in a statement that Kastiel had expressed great regret for his crimes, taken responsibility for them, and undergone a lengthy rehabilitation.”
The Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel said in a statement Monday that Kastiel’s parole is “one slap too many in the face of the victims.
“Beyond the terrifying message to the public this decision sends, it causes severe and repeated harm to the women Kastiel hurt,” the statement said.
In one case, Kastiel admitted to attempting to force a woman to engage in sexual relations with him in the backroom of one of his clubs, despite her repeated protestations. She eventually managed to run off. In another, he forcibly carried out indecent acts against a woman at another club.
In two other cases, Kastiel attempted to forcibly kiss a woman and placed his hands on a woman’s breasts.
The plea deal did not include an agreement on the sentence. At the time of sentencing the prosecution had requested eight years behind bars, while his lawyer asked for 18 months.
Kastiel was also ordered to compensate each of the women he was convicted of assaulting with sums ranging from NIS 15,000 (approximately $4,470) to NIS 50,000 ($14,900).