Probe Against Marciano Won't Include Sex Crime Allegations

Ethics Committee bans Marciano from Knesset for 10 days over involvement in Herzliya nightclub brawl.

The criminal probe against Labor MK Yoram Marciano for allegedly attacking security guards at a nightclub is not expected to include an inquiry into sexual offenses, police sources said Monday.

The Knesset Ethics Committee yesterday banned Marciano from attending Knesset plenum and committee debates for 10 days, following his brawl at Herzliya's Rio nightclub.

A member of the security staff filed a police complaint against Marciano, accusing him of threatening and attacking guards. Marciano in turn lodged a complaint against a guard for allegedly striking him first.

When police examined the security video from the night of the brawl, they observed Marciano kissing and fondling women. They decided to question the women as well as others present about Marciano's conduct.

One of the women whom Marciano was seen kissing on video arrived to testify on Sunday. However, the parliamentary assistant told police that she did not feel harassed when Marciano kissed her and had no intention of filing a complaint. She remained adamant even when shown the video.

"I don't see this kiss as an indecent act or sexual harassment or anything that would make me take it further," the parliamentary assistant told Army Radio Monday. She gave the police her testimony Monday.

"I saw what the woman [who complained against President Moshe Katsav] had to go through and have no intention of going through anything like that," she said.

"The reports themselves are punishment enough. A Knesset member is a public official, and it is for the public to judge such acts," she said.

The woman was seen chatting with Marciano at the MKs' cafeteria in the Knesset Monday.

Another woman, who works in the Knesset cafeteria, was also reportedly kissed by Marciano at the Rio club. As of Monday, she had retained a lawyer to represent her.

Marciano banned from Knesset for 10 days Marciano has been banned for 10 days from attending discussion within the Knesset plenum or its committees, the Knesset Ethics Committee decided Monday. The decision was made in wake of the incident nearly two weeks ago in which Marciano engaged in a brawl with a security guard at a Herzliya nightclub.

A police probe into the events showed that the fight broke out following a row between Marciano and security guards at the club. A member of the security staff filed a police complaint against Marciano, accusing him of initiating the brawl. Marciano in turn lodged a complaint against the staff member for allegedly striking him first.

The committee decided unanimously on Monday that Marciano had struck a heavy blow to the honor of the Knesset. According to the committee, Marciano committed an ethical crime by engaging in behavior inappropriate for his position.

The panel emphasized that it reached its decision based on factual evidence presented by Marciano alone. Marciano himself had turned to the Ethics Committee, under representation of a lawyer, and requested that the committee debate the incident and punish him accordingly. The committee said its decision was based on consideration of ethics and not criminal behavior.

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