Police internal affairs investigators are demanding a former Jerusalem police chief who engaged in sexual relationships with numerous female officers under his command be given a jail sentence, following a district court decision in September that overturned his exoneration on charges of sexual assault, fraud and breach of trust.
During a hearing in the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court on Monday, representatives of the Police Internal Investigations Department in the Justice Ministry argued that the penalty of community service to which Nissan “Niso” Shaham was initially sentenced was insufficient given the severity of his actions.
“No other punishment can be relevant in this case,” the Haaretz daily quoted PIID representative Ronen Yitzhak as saying. Shaham, he said, was a “very senior officer who made use of status, rank and authority as a tool to promote his sexual desires.”
Citing one complainant who said that he would call her into her office to have sex in the middle of the day, Yitzhak said that Shaham’s offenses harmed not only the women he abused but “public confidence” in the police.
“The fact that this happened not only in a hierarchical workplace but within the Israel Police makes the matter even more serious,” he said. “What kind of message does this send?”
Monday’s hearing came after a September ruling by a Tel Aviv District Court overturned a lower court’s decision to clear Shaham of sexual assault, fraud and breach of trust charges.
Shaham was convicted of indecent conduct in April 2018 for kissing a junior officer, but was acquitted of one count of sexual harassment, five counts of breach of trust and another count of indecent behavior over alleged sexual relationships with numerous female officers under his command.
Prosecutors claimed to the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court that on multiple occasions Shaham had coerced policewomen into sleeping with him, and later made decisions about their careers.
Last December, Shaham was sentenced to 240 hours of community service and six months of probation.
The District Court accepted the state’s appeal and convicted him of the original charges. It kicked the case back down to the lower court for sentencing.