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A teacher who molested a student for two and a half years, starting when the boy was 5, will perform six months of community service and pay the boy NIS 2,000 in a plea bargain reached Monday.

Michael Maguri admitted that on several occasions he ordered the victim to go with him to an empty room and then grabbed the boy's genitals, causing him physical pain.

An expert witness testified that the defendant posed a low risk to the public. A psychologist said Maguri, who is married with four children, underwent extensive rehabilitation for sex offenders, is no longer a teacher and helps the needy.

Ramle Magistrate's Court Judge Ami Kobo approved the plea bargain while noting the severity of the crime, which carries a seven-year prison sentence. He cited the defendant's lack of a criminal record, his financial hardship and his confession among his reasons for approving the deal.

Maguri will carry out his community service with the religious council in the southern town where he now lives.

Yitzhak Kadman, executive director of the National Council for the Child, called the plea bargain "a prize for pedophiles."

He said the light punishment resulted from "a combination of an overloaded prosecution that hastens to make unacceptable and infuriating plea bargains with courts that don't have the power to reject distorting plea bargains."