Former Jerusalem District police commander Maj. Gen. Niso Shaham will likely be indicted on criminal charges of sexual harassment, performing indecent acts and breach of trust in an affair involving nine female police officers.
The Justice Ministry's department for the investigation of police officers is seriously considering filing the indictment, though Shaham will be granted a hearing before such a step is taken. "Shaham acted in such a fashion as to damage the police officers faith n their commanders, the image of the Israel Police and the public's faith in it," said the investigative department.
The Justice Ministry announced Wednesday that the investigation had raised suspicions that "Shaham had performed indecent acts, or those considered sexual harassment, on four junior female police officers, under his direct or indirect command; whether with the seeming consent of the police officers while taking advantage of his position, or whether without their consent and against their will."
Shaham allegedly conducted consensual sexual relations with the other five female officers while protecting them with his patronage and providing them various benefits. Such alleged relationships violate the regulations and duties of a senior police officer, said the ministry. Shaham is suspected of making decisions about their advancement, places of service, jobs etc. - despite his conducting sexual relations with them at the time. His decisions often were in opposition to those of their direct commanders, and Shaham never reported any of his personal involvement with the women to his superiors. This created a conflict of interest, claim the investigators.
Shaham took a leave of absence when the investigation became public in July, and later resigned his post as Jerusalem District chief. Investigators said he cooperated and answered the main points of their questions.
"We feel Maj. Gen. Shaham did not commit any crimes and we will try to convince the department for the investigation of police officers of that during the hearing," said Shaham's lawyers Navit Negev and Iris Niv-Sabag. "The investigative department has said itself that it has yet to formulate a final opinion and the decision will be made only after hearing our claims," they added. The entire question of whether to file an indictment at all is still to be examined, said the lawyers.
One of Shaham's senior subordinates, Brig. Gen. Nissim Edri, was dismissed from his position by Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino for failing to pass along complaints regarding alleged sexual harassment of female officers by his boss. Edri was investigated on suspicion that he was aware of Shaham's actions and did not report as required by law. Edri initially denied that he knew about the complaints. However, he later admitted that he did know about them when investigators confronted him with the officer who had informed him about the complaints. Shaham is best remembered in Israel as the police commander who was caught on camera instructing police officers to handle settlers with severity and use batons against them during the disengagement from Gaza in 2005.
Before serving as commander of the Jerusalem district, Shaham served as commander of the David District, commander of the Negev District, deputy commander of the Jerusalem District and as head of the police logistics unit. He was appointed to the position of commander of the Jerusalem District in May 2011.