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Tel Aviv city councilmember, a former deputy mayor, named as sex abuse suspect

Now-adult man claims Arnon Giladi paid to have sex with him 10 years ago, when he was 15, has since tried to pressure him to repeat; Giladi released from arrest, denies allegation

Arnon Giladi, then-deputy mayor of Tel Aviv, arrives for a remand hearing at the Rishon Lezion Magistrate's Court on a corruption affair at the Rishon Lezion Municipality, February 4, 2017. (Flash90)
Arnon Giladi, then-deputy mayor of Tel Aviv, arrives for a remand hearing at the Rishon Lezion Magistrate's Court on a corruption affair at the Rishon Lezion Municipality, February 4, 2017. (Flash90)

Arnon Giladi, a former deputy mayor of Tel Aviv who is still a member of the city council, was named Wednesday as the suspect in a case in which a man is claiming the councilmember paid to have sex with him ten years ago, when the accuser was just 15, and tried to pressure him into similar sexual encounters years later.

The Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court released Giladi from custody Wednesday, prohibiting him from leaving the country or making contact with his accuser for 60 days.

Giladi, who is a member of the city council for the Likud party, has denied the accusations, which were revealed in a series of Hebrew media reports over the past two weeks.

He was arrested on Monday. Giladi’s defense team raised no objection Wednesday to his name being reported in the case.

Giladi allegedly paid for sex when his accuser was working as a teenage male prostitute who had left his home in the south of the country and claims he turned to the sex trade to survive. Giladi also had contact with the now-adult alleged victim three years ago, and again a month ago. The more recent encounters were recorded by the alleged victim.

In the recordings, Giladi can be heard offering to pay the man for sex, Hebrew media reported.

“This is a suspect who has much power and influence. His alleged actions are very severe,” said a police representative during the hearing.

Giladi denies having sex with minors or those he had reason to suspect were minors at the time, according to reports.

However, according to leaks from a police-arranged confrontation between Giladi and his alleged victim reported by the Kan public broadcaster Tuesday, the latter claimed that he told Giladi his age at the time.

The alleged victim filed a complaint with police two weeks ago. Giladi responded by filing a complaint against the man for blackmail and invasion of his privacy.

Earlier this month, police opened an investigation into a former Tel Aviv city councilman and prominent leader of the city’s thriving gay community after a former lover accused him of forcing himself upon him five years ago.

Etai Pinkas Arad denied the allegations, which were leveled against him by the unnamed accuser in the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, coming days after two people said he took advantage of them sexually when they were teenagers.

Pinkas Arad resigned from the Tel Aviv City Council, where he held the LGBT portfolio, in the wake of the first set of allegations.

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