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The Ramle Magistrates Court released a school principal to house arrest yesterday after several days in jail on allegations that he sexually harassed a female student. The release of the prinicipal, Shimon Scheiber, of the Amal School in Rishon Letzion, surprised senior police officials, one of whom said that he expects Scheiber to be charged with more serious offenses than were initially alleged.

The Ramle magistrate, Esther Nachlieli-Khayat, released Scheiber to confinement at home for 15 days, noting the "low threshold of suspicions against him."

Since the initial allegations were made by a 17-year-old student about 10 days ago, the police said they have received four other complaints from women who allege they were victims of sexual harassment by Scheiber. The complaints reportedly came from female students and from women who are employed at the school as well as a woman whose son is a student at the school who was summoned to meet with the principal.

A police official said the case involves events which were "not simple, but the problem is that the women whom we have contacted hesitate or refuse to lodge a complaint against the principal, either out of shame or a lack of desire to open old wounds."

Police sources have noted, however, that publicity regarding the case has prompted additional complainants to come forward.