Tel Aviv teacher convicted of rape of 12-year-old student
A former Tel Aviv middle school teacher was sentenced Thursday for the rape of a 12-year-old student.
Yotam Okon was found guilty after admitting his guilt under a plea deal reached by prosecutors in consultation with the girl.
However, the two sides failed to agree on the sentence and the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court will hold a hearing on the matter in April.
“The accused admitted to having committed serious sexual offenses and to having seriously injured the minor, who was his student,” the victim’s lawyer, Tami Klenberg-Levy, said in a statement. “The family hope that the sentence will reflect the serious harm caused. “
In the meantime, the court ordered Okon to pay NIS 200,000 (approximately $ 64,000) in compensation to his victim.
The Walla news site said Okon virtually committed some of the offenses – forcing the girl to commit sex acts online – while other indecent assaults were carried out in person.
A gag order banned the publication of many details of the indictment against Okon, including the name of the school.
According to the indictment, Okon committed sexual offenses against a number of minors over a period of several months and was arrested in August after police corroborated the testimony against him.
The story came to light when one of the mothers at the Tel Aviv school came across a WhatsApp conversation Okon was having with her daughter in which the teacher asked the student to do indecent acts, said received explicit photos of her and invited her to his home, the Ynet news site reported.
In addition to the complaints that were subsequently filed with the police, several students from the school have come forward on TikTok with stories about how Okon behaved inappropriately with them.
The allegations were made in response to a video posted on TikTok by 17-year-old Maya Landau. In it, she said that “the teacher who gave me ‘special’ treatment in ninth grade has finally been arrested. If there is anyone else who has gone through something similar with him, please send me a direct message and we will go together to testify.
Landau’s video garnered many responses from young girls corroborating his story, including one from a girl who said, “All the time he was grabbing my belly fat and saying my shirt was too short. Thank goodness he was arrested.
“I saw a lot of things like this that happened mainly with my girlfriends to whom he gave ‘special’ treatment and behaved in weird and disturbing ways,” replied another girl.
Speaking to the daily Yedioth Ahronoth, Landau recalled how Okon took advantage of her several years ago: “I was 14, a little lost, still a teenager. Yotam saw an opportunity there.
According to Channel 13 News, Okon was fired five months before his arrest, evidently over similar allegations against him. However, the Ministry of Education did not pass the relevant information on to the police and the investigation was not opened until several of the girls filed a complaint with the police themselves. The school principal was questioned by the police.
Okon’s conviction came amid a number of high-profile cases of sexual offenses against women and girls by people in senior positions, such as doctors and teachers.