Military Police unlikely to press charges in IAF teen rape case
Prosecution says lack of evidence servicemen knew girl was underage prevents indictments.
There is a growing likelihood that no one will be indicted in the case of the teenage girl who was serially raped on an Israel Air Force base in the south, since the Military Police have failed to turn up any evidence that the servicemen who had sex with her knew she was under the age of consent.
The army's chief prosecutor, Brigadier General Avihai Mandelblit, will decide whether to file indictments in the upcoming weeks, after reviewing the findings of the weeks-long Military Police investigation, which ended recently.
The 15-year-old victim told investigators early on in the probe that she had lied to the soldiers, telling them she was 16.5 or 17, which is old enough for consensual sex. Lacking any evidence that the soldiers knew her true age - which would make them guilty of statutory rape - there may be no grounds for an indictment, since there is also no evidence that the sexual encounters took place against her will.
During the investigation, military policemen questioned almost 200 soldiers, officers and noncommissioned officers (NCOs) at the base.
Of these, 81 were suspected of having slept with the girl, and 25 admitted to having done so. However, all 25 said they were unaware of her true age.
The officers were questioned on suspicion that they knew what was happening but did nothing about it. However, the probe also failed to turn up any evidence that might constitute grounds for an indictment on this issue.
Two NCOs on the base have been suspended due to suspicions that they slept with the girl, and the base commander, Colonel Erez, resigned over the affair a few weeks ago.