Convicted Israeli Rapist Gets Off With Community Service, No Jail Time

Tel Aviv judges say defendant deserved leniency in part because the police had destroyed his good name and reputation by disseminating damaging information about him.

 Accused in court (Illustration).
Eyal Warshavsky

The Tel Aviv District Court sentenced a man convicted of rape and forcible indecent acts to six months of community service on Sunday. The prosecution had asked to send the man, Yaniv Nahman, to prison for at least four years.

The sentence is unusual in its leniency, as the law allows a sentence of up to 16 years in prison for rape and the courts usually impose prison time in such cases. In Nahman’s case, the judges said that he should be shown leniency for a number of reasons, including the fact that he took responsibility for his acts and spared the victim from having to testify in court. Nahman signed a plea bargain agreement with the prosecution, but the sides did not agree to a sentence as part of the deal and left that up to the judges’ discretion.

In addition to the community service, judges Miriam Diskin, Zion Kapah and Raanan Ben-Yosef ordered Nahman to pay the victim 30,000 shekels in compensation and pay a 10,000 shekels fine.

The State Prosecutor’s Office said it was considering appealing the sentence.

Nahman was originally indicted on three charges of rape, attempted rape, two counts of indecent acts, sexual harassment of two other women and dozens of counts of violation of privacy. The police discovered that Nahman used a “rape drug” regularly to drug his victims, but this was left out of the indictment because it was impossible to prove the use of the drug in laboratory tests.

Before the evidentiary stage of the trial, Nahman reached a plea bargain deal with the prosecution, in which the indictment was changed to include only one count of rape and indecent acts. The prosecution agreed to the deal partly because one woman refused to testify in court against Nahman, and in the case of another victim there were evidentiary problems.

Nahman pleaded guilty to carrying out sexual acts against a woman against her will six years ago, and did not respond to her requests to stop until she kicked him out of her house. Nahman and the woman had been in a sexual relationship for years before the incident, and on that night they got drunk together and fell asleep in the same bed while both were naked. He later carried out the acts he was convicted of. In justifying their ruling, the judges said Nahman had spent six months in jail, in harsher conditions than in prison, during the investigation. He also spent a long period of time in detention, including a period of house arrest. In addition, the judges said that during the six years that have passed since the crimes were committed, Nahman has not committed any other crimes, and he has gone through a rehabilitation process and was willing to compensate the victim.

In addition, the judges said there was further room for leniency because of the police’s actions during the investigation, in which they released Nahman’s identity and a photograph of him, as well as disseminating “broad and comprehensive” information about the case. This publication destroyed his “good name” and reputation, which the judges said may be impossible to ever correct. The judges said the charges he was convicted of were unrelated to the information the police released.