A teacher from the central Israeli city of Herzliya who admitted to sexually abusing a 12-year-old student was sentenced to seven months of community service and a fine of NIS 12,000 ($3,385) on Wednesday despite the prosecution’s demand that he be jailed.
According to his indictment, 38-year old Uri Gilad took advantage of his position to repeatedly have sex with the girl, both at school and elsewhere. When his actions came to light, he pushed her to lie about their relationship, urging her to erase digital communications that could prove incriminating.
Prosecutors attributed the light sentence, which was reached as part of a plea bargain, to what they called “evidentiary difficulties,” adding that the final deal reached did not represent “a consensus on the punishment.”
Gilad “destroyed our lives, exploited the innocence of my daughter, her body, her soul, her heart,” the girl’s mother said, according to Channel 12. “Someone who was supposed to be an example and a role model left us with deep scars that will be with us forever.”
She called her daughter a “hero” for standing up to Gilad and speaking out against him.
According to Ynet, Gilad’s attorney Guy Zahavi stated that the sentence reached in the plea bargain “reflects the seriousness of the offenses and the proper punishment under the circumstances.”
In a separate case earlier this year, a teacher at a top school in the city of Rehovot was arrested on suspicion of molesting at least three of his female students. All of his alleged victims were 14 or 15 years old.
Last month, a 26-year-old resident of the ultra-Orthodox West Bank settlement of Emmanuel was indicted for dozens of alleged sex offenses against underage girls.