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A social worker was on Monday convicted in a Haifa court of committing indecent acts against an adolescent last year, while serving as his caseworker.

Yossi Diamant, 61, a welfare official in Hof Hacarmel Regional Council, was convicted of taking a 14-year-old boy to various beaches, where he stripped and exposed himself on three separate occasions. He was also convicted of abusing his authority and breach of trust.

Diamant allowed the youth to drive his car briefly and on some occasions even suggested it, the verdict says.

The verdict indicates the boy suffers from various impairments, had a problematic family history and had difficulty trusting adults.

Diamant said in his trial that he and the youth bathed in the nude, in order to prepare the boy for life in a boarding school. He said he had erred in doing so.

Haifa District Court Deputy President Ilan Shiff dismissed this argument and said he could have accepted a wrong-judgment claim had it referred to a one-time occurrence, but not after a number of meetings that the defendant had initiated and coordinated with the boy.

The judge said the boy had been "easy prey" to the defendant. "It was obvious to the defendant that due to the boy's difficulties and [problems with] his parents, he assumed his future in the boarding house depended, among other things, on the defendant," he wrote.

The judge also said the defendant's supervisor had reproached him in 2005 and forbade him to hold therapy talks outside the rooms allocated for therapy. "That in itself raises questions and suspicions, which are strengthened by [the defendant's] acts."

Diamant denied having abused his position or the minor's trust. He said he had three meetings on the beach with the youth, not four as the charge sheet said.

Consequently he was acquitted of one charge of committing an indecent act.