The Tel Aviv prosecutor's office closed its file on a public sex incident at a Tel Aviv nightclubclub even before it became public knowledge, Haaretz has learned.
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The incident, in which an intoxicated woman had public sex with multiple men on the bar of Allenby 40, a popular Tel Aviv nightspot, occurred about three months ago.
The reason given for closing the case was that the circumstances of the case didn’t justify an indictment. But the prosecution asked the police to reopen the case about two weeks ago, following a report about the incident on Channel 10 television.
Police are now investigating whether the woman involved, who acknowledged being drunk, was also under the influence of hard drugs.
The original police investigation, based on the woman's testimony, concluded that the sex was consensual. On the basis of those findings, which included video footage that hasn’t yet been made public, the prosecution decided to close the case.
“If it’s true that the case was closed, it bolsters our feeling that there’s an intolerable gap between the dry letter of the law and the public discussion [about the case],” said attorney Lior Epstein, who represents Allenby 40’s owners.
“Perhaps at the time I consented, but my consent wasn’t [given] while I was in my right mind,” the woman said in a TV interview following the initial report. “They poured drinks for me and I began drinking. As I was drinking, other men bought me drinks. I think I had 12 to 15 drinks, and then they hoisted me up onto the counter.”
That version of events contradicted what the woman originally told the police – namely, that she had consented freely and that she hadn’t had more than three drinks – all Red Bull with vodka. She also denied having been paid for the sex.
One problem with this testimony was her claim that it was a one-time event. Police apparently have evidence of two similar incidents.
About a month before the Channel 10 report, the young woman, accompanied by her mother, approached the police with the request that a video clip of the incident be removed from the Internet. At no point during that meeting did she mention the investigation or say anything to indicate that the sex hadn’t been consensual.
Only after the incident became public knowledge, and sparked public pressure for action, did the prosecution ask the police to pursue the investigation further. It did not mention, either to the police or in its public statements, that it had previously decided to close the case.
Police summoned the woman, the club’s owners and other participants in the incident for further questioning, at which time, the woman changed her story. Her new version wasn’t as stark as the description she gave Channel 2, which could have resulted in rape charges.
In her second police interview, the woman said she had been going to Allenby 40 for about three years, during which time the owners had occasionally employed her to participate in wet T-shirt contests – a fact that hadn’t come to light previously. But she reiterated that she wasn’t paid for the group sex, and said that other young women had also had group sex on the countertop over the years.
When police questioned her about the contradictions between her initial testimony and her new story, she left the room and requested that the interrogation be halted.
Legal sources said that, based on the information to date, it seems unlikely that rape charges can be pursued. The most probable outcome is that the case will again be closed, inter alia because no new witnesses have come forth who might be able to shed light on what happened. They also said the publication of the video clips, and the wide press coverage they received, seems to have been a factor in persuading the woman to change her story.