Court approves rape charge against man accused of assaulting 13-year-old girl
The Tel Aviv Magistrates’ Court on Sunday approved the upgrade to violate charges against a man who had sex with a 13-year-old girl at a state-run quarantine hotel in February. Previously, he had only been charged with a prohibited consensual relationship, as well as other lesser offenses.
The unusual change in the indictment follows an outcry over the original charges filed in April against Yarin Sherf, after which the mother of the alleged victim said she felt her daughter had been again raped.
Sherf, 21, was first indicted in the Tel Aviv Magistrates’ Court with prohibited consensual relations, sexual harassment, threats, assault and consuming an intoxicating drink to a minor.
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Although under Israeli law sex with a minor under the age of 14 is considered rape, even with her consent, prosecutors avoided filing a complaint because the alleged victim told Sherf she was 14. years and had apparently accepted the meeting nominally. .
The initial accusation sparked outrage from activists.
Acting State Prosecutor Amit Isman later announced he would reconsider the matter, and prosecutors reviewed the investigative documents and came to the conclusion that a rape conviction was possible.
After the previous charges were laid, the girl’s mother insisted: “Her [crime] is rape, any other interpretation is wrong. She added: “This decision gives the green light and helps the upcoming rape.”
The leader of Israel’s largest women’s rights group called the first indictment a “serious systemic failure of the state.”
According to the indictment, Sherf arrived at the hotel, which quarantined the virus for young people who were unable to isolate themselves at home, on February 23 when he met the girl .
Over the next few hours, he made contact through the Instagram app, and after inviting her to her room, she suggested that he come to hers instead. However, before he arrived, the girl found out her age through another social media app he used, TikTok, and then told him he was “too old.”
When asked if he was really 21, Sherf replied that he was 20 and asked the girl about her own age. She told him she was 14, prosecutors said.
Sherf continued to text the girl, who told her to “let it go” and declined his suggestions to visit her room.
In a post, Sherf wrote that if she didn’t agree he would perform an ‘Eilat 2.0’, referring to the gang rape of a 16-year-old girl at a resort town hotel last year. .
The next day, a member of hotel staff, after seeing the two talking together in a public space, warned Sherf to stay away from the girl. Sherf indicated he would.
Nonetheless, the two continued to message each other and the girl eventually told Sherf to come to her room, where they had had sex. During the encounter, Sherf slapped the girl in the face when she refused to perform oral sex, then apologized when she warned him about the behavior.
Hours later, Sherf suggested they meet again in her bedroom after the girl sent her a photo of herself via Instagram. Although she initially refused, telling him, “I want to be alone,” she opened the door for him when he arrived and they had sex again.
A counselor who then knocked on the door and entered the girl’s room found Sherf hiding in the bathroom, after which the incident was reported to the police.
Stuart Winer contributed to this report.