10 Years in Prison for Israeli Cab Driver Who Sexually Assaulted Young Girl

Yosef Cohen drove off after assaulting the 7-year-old girl, leaving her alone in a forest.

Yosef Cohen in court during his trial.
Eliahu Hirschkowitz

A taxi driver who kidnapped and sexually assaulted a seven-year-old girl was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Tuesday.

The Be’er Sheva District Court also ordered Yosef Cohen, 50, to pay 40,000 shekels ($10,400) in compensation to the victim’s parents.

According to the indictment, Cohen was driving his cab in Ashdod one day in December 2014 when, at about 1 P.M., he spotted the girl. He stopped alongside her and tried to convince her to get into his cab by promising her chocolate and other goodies.

Eventually, the girl agreed to get in, whereupon Cohen left the city and drove toward Jerusalem. He stopped near the Tzora Forest, put the girl in the back seat, then kissed her and touched her vagina.

Afterwards, Cohen removed the girl from the cab, told her to wait for him and drove off, leaving her alone in the forest. The girl eventually left the forest and ran toward the road, where the driver of a passing car spotted her and called the police.

“She was frightened. She cried and screamed for help,” the indictment said.

Prosecutors sought a sentence of 13 to 17 years in jail, arguing that though the sexual offenses Cohen committed were not exceptionally severe, the fact that they were combined with kidnapping justified a lengthy sentence.

Judge Gilat Shalev concluded that Cohen’s behavior during the trial indicated a high danger of recidivism, as it attested to “his being focused on himself and the price he was paying, his tendency to see himself as the victim, his disregard for the other’s suffering and his lack of empathy for the minor.”

Nevertheless, she said, his lack of a criminal record justified a shorter sentence than the prosecution had sought.