Drama School Head Cleared of Sex Assault

The former director of the Beit Zvi acting school, Gary Bilu, was acquitted yesterday of all counts of sexual misconduct stemming from November 2006 charges.

The prosecution claimed Bilu sexually harassed two of his students.

The first charge, of which he was acquitted in October, accused Bilu of forcing a students to give him a massage and forcibly stroke his hand.

He was also accused of sexual harassment, allegedly asking the student to accompany him to his flat.

He was acquitted after maintaining that the prosecution brought no evidence to the veracity of the claims, and that the charge should therefore be dismissed.

The second charge, of which he was acquitted yesterday, held that in 2002 Bilu rubbed himself against another student. Both were dressed and at the school's cafeteria at the time.

Judge Miriam Diskin did not elaborate on the reasons for her decision when reading the verdict, but promised to do so in the next 30 days.

Lawyer Amnon Strashnov represented Bilu in the trial.

"We welcome the decision of the court and feel that it would have been better if the indictment had never been served at all," he said. "The acquittal is complete, and sheds light on the innocence of my client. However, you can't give him back the last 5 years of his life. It was a relief for Gary, he believed in his innocence wholeheartedly all along the way. He always knew the truth would come out."

Bilu retired from the Beit Tzvi acting school last week, after running it for 27 years.