Tel Aviv teen arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting several girls

Suspect reportedly left one school due to an alleged assault, then attacked again after switching to new school

Illustrative: A Tel Aviv classroom. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
Illustrative: A Tel Aviv classroom. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

A 15-year-old student at an elite high school in Tel Aviv was arrested Thursday on suspicion of a series of sexual assaults against female students, including at least one alleged rape.

The arrest came after two days of media coverage about the case, which was first reported by the 103FM radio station.

Police reportedly received at least six complaints against the suspect, the most recent of them on Wednesday. Investigators believe there are several other incidents regarding which they have yet to receive complaints, according to reports.

Victims were said to have come from three schools, although none of the incidents happened on campus. At least one of the victims is reportedly from the suspect’s school.

The suspect allegedly lured his victims to a certain location where he was able to block their exit and then forced himself upon them, the Maariv news site reported.

Many other details of the case are covered by a gag order issued by the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court.

One incident occurred last January and police are investigating whether school staff was aware of what happened.

The suspect had transferred from another school after a previous accusation of rape that was not reported to police nor disclosed to the new school he moved to. According to some reports, staff at the first school were also unaware of the accusation, though he had also previously had issues with alcohol and smoking at school.

The alleged rape at the first school came to light only after a female student shared her experience with a teacher. She was apparently prompted to do so after recently hearing of other alleged assaults by the student.

Another incident was said to involve an assault at an alcohol-fueled party in a private home two weeks ago, a few days before Hanukkah. A complaint over that incident was filed with the police, leading to the opening of an undercover investigation.

In a statement, the Education Ministry said ministry workers were providing professional psychological counseling to one victim and that more counselors would be sent to the school itself.

During the previous school year, 4,653 students were sexually assaulted, with over 2,000 of those acts committed by other students, according to Channel 13 news. At least 163 of those cases were classified as rape.

On Wednesday, Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton announced a program that aims to tackle violence in schools. The Education Ministry has allocated around NIS 438 million to the program, of which about NIS 30 million will go toward counseling in elementary and middle schools.

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