High-ranking Israel Police Official Accused of Sexual Misconduct

Official becomes fifth accused of misconduct in past 18 months, is placed under house arrest; police chief Danino: Public trust has been damaged.

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Police chief Yohanan Danino.
Police chief Yohanan Danino.Credit: Rami Shllush

A high-ranking police official was placed under house arrest Monday for sexual misconduct, making him the fifth senior police official to be accused of sexual misconduct or corruption since the Jerusalem police chief quit the force in August 2013.

The police official, whose name has not been released for publication, was questioned Sunday night for several hours. Internal affairs investigators said they expect him to be charged, and associates of Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino said the police chief expects him to resign.

"This appears to be a very serious incident," said Danino. "It comes in the wake of several incidents that involved senior officials, and damaged the public trust. They must be uprooted."

Danino said he has shown he would "not compromise on norms and values," adding, "Those who do not conduct themselves in accordance with the values we have outlined will not remain in the organization, no matter what their rank It must be understood that, just as in the war on public corruption, the more incidents and investigations there are, the greater the deterrence."

The official placed under house arrest Monday has been accused of sexually harassing a subordinate female police officer and committing indecent assault. Six other female police officers have also filed complaints about him.

The initial complainant had asked the suspect to help her upgrade her service and give her more hours. He is suspected of kissing her on the mouth while visiting her at home, as well as sending her sexually suggestive text messages such as "When can I come and touch your body?"

He is also suspected of destroying evidence, with internal affairs investigators saying he erased his messages right after being summoned for questioning.

Other high-ranking police officials accused of misconduct include Judea and Samaria District commander Kobi Cohen, Central District commander Bruno Stein, Jerusalem District commander Nisso Shaham and Lahav 443 anti-corruption unit commander Menashe Arbiv.

In addition, Yossi Prienti quit as Shaham's successor in September, though no complaints have been filed against him.

Cohen was questioned last week on suspicion of having a sexual relationship with a subordinate in exchange for helping her advance in the police force, and is expected to quit in the next few days; Shaham announced his resignation in August 2013 after he was accused of sexual offenses against women under his command. Shaham has since been indicted.

Stein and Arbiv were accused of corruption. Stein announced his resignation from the police force in September, a day after Haaretz published a photograph of him at a private party with a lawyer suspected of bribery. Arbiv resigned nearly a year ago after he was suspected of receiving favors from celebrity Rabbi Yeshayahu Pinto, allegations he has denied.

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