Israel Police Receive Rape Complaint Against Activist Implicated in Gay Center Attack

The gay-community activist is thought to be the intended victim in the shooting at Tel Aviv's Barnoar club four years ago, and has been arrested for allegedly obstructing investigation.

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The Tel Aviv police have received a rape complaint against the gay-community activist suspected of obstructing the investigation into the murder at the Barnoar youth club four years ago, Israel Radio and Army Radio reported Thursday.

The police say the activist was the intended victim in the attack for allegedly raping a relative of the gunman when the relative was still a minor. In the incident, the gunman killed not his intended victim but two teenagers at the club.

On Thursday, Israel Radio spoke with the woman who filed the complaint; she said she had once been a man and had since had a sex change. She said the encounter with the activist took place 10 years ago and that she was speaking out because she recognized him in media reports.

In an attempt to convict the gunman, the police are trying to get the activist to turn state's witness. But investigators say he is unwilling to confess to sexual contact because he fears for his life.

The activist is about to be brought for a third hearing to extend his detention. If there is no progress in the case, he is expected to be released to house arrest.

The other three suspects continue to maintain that they don't know the activist.

The activist is a high-profile figure in the gay community. Colleagues, friends and people he has advised say they have a hard time believing the suspicions. They say he has helped hundreds of teenagers cope with their problems, and no one has complained about him before.

But complaints have surfaced in recent days. Yonatan Boks, who was paralyzed in the shooting, has told Channel 2 news he wasn't surprised about the arrest of the activist, whose name is still under a gag order.

Boks said that after he awoke in the hospital, the suspect asked him not to talk to the police. "The moment I woke up he said to me: 'Don't talk to the police, they'll only confuse you more,'" he told Channel 2.

According to Boks, "I've suspected all these years that he was linked to it. If he were clean he wouldn't hide his face with a hood in front of the cameras."

Another young man says the suspect sexually harassed him during counseling. "He started to caress me all over my body; I felt uncomfortable," the man told Channel 2. "He touched me in intimate places and tried to get me to sleep with him."

Vigil for victims of Barnoar shooting.Credit: Motil Milrod

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