Ex-IDF Commander Convicted of Prohibited Sexual Relations as Part of Plea Bargain

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Brig. Gen. Ofek Buchris outside of Tel Aviv Military Court, December 18, 2016.
Former Brig. Gen. Ofek Buchris outside of Tel Aviv Military Court, December 18, 2016.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

Brig. Gen. Ofek Buchris confessed to and was convicted on Monday of prohibited consensual sexual intercourse with a female soldier, A., and of unbecoming conduct toward a female officer, L. The verdict was reached in the context of a plea agreement under which he would confess to the charges and avoid imprisonment.

Because he is a convicted sex offender, Buchris will be sent for an evaluation to determine what, if any, risk he poses to the public, and the results will be presented to the military court judges at the sentencing hearing on January 17. Under the deal reached between the prosecution and defense, Buchris will be demoted to the rank of colonel and receive a suspended sentence.

A., the soldier with whom he had prohibited sexual intercourse, was present at the Tel Aviv Military Court yesterday. “This is an important day from the plaintiff’s perspective," said her attorney, Avital Ben-Noun, after the hearing. "This day represents closure. She set out on this path in order to achieve closure, not out of vengefulness. It was very important to her to hear him take responsibility for his actions and to confess, especially given his denials all along.”

“The plaintiffs welcomed the agreement and we ascribe great value to that," said Chief Military Prosecutor Col. Sharon Zagagi-Pinhas. "In drawing up the agreement, the plaintiffs were spared a long and complicated trial that requires mental strength, coping with revisiting the events of the past and complicated exposure of their personal lives.”

The prosecutor added that “The accused admits publicly to the accusations against him, after a lengthy and sweeping denial. In determining the punishment called for in the plea agreement, the administrative measures taken against the accused were also taken into account: the end of his military career as well as the moral stain and criminal record that will remain with him.”

The original indictment had charged Buchris with molesting the officer and raping and sodomizing the soldier, but under the plea bargain, the rape and sodomy charges were dropped.

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