"I hope that today will mark the end of the seven worst years of my life," the rape victim of former president Moshe Katsav said on Thursday in response to hearing his guilty verdict.
Katsav was convicted of raping and sexually assaulting A., a former employee at the Tourism Ministry. He was also convicted of sexually harassing H. from the President's Residence, of sexually abusing and harassing L. from the President's Residence and of obstruction of justice.
A. said she was happy that she got the chance to "put an end to the suffering of the many women who worked for Katsav and to prevent the suffering of additional women."
The panel of judges, in reading the case's verdict, said they "accept A.'s version of events that the humiliation stemmed from a single reason, that she refused to accept the defendant's sexual advances."
Presiding judge George Karra said that by choosing to reject a plea bargain, Katzav had shuffled the deck, and not in his own favor.
Karra told the court that the long period of time that passed during the trial had led to new evidence arising, which supported A.'s claim and essentially discredited Katsav.
Katsav had tried to charm A., Karra determined, and when she did not respond to his overtures, he began to harass her. The defendant told the victim that he was in love with her, added Karra, and left her feeling humiliated.
"I heard the things described at the court ruling," A. said, "It's not possible to describe what I went through in more precise words."
She added that she was happy that the court "brought the truth to light" and saluted the women who came forward with their complaints.
"I am thankful to everyone who believed me from beginning to end, who encouraged and supported me in facing the slanderous message of Katsav and his people," A. said in conclusion.
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