Israeli Daycare Owner, Indicted on 18 Counts of Child Abuse, Returned to Custody

Court rules against placing Carmel Mauda, who allegedly abused 11 toddlers, at the home of a volunteer under restrictive conditions

Mauda outside Israel's Neve Tirza prison, September 23, 2019.
Tomer Appelbaum

An Israeli court ruled on Monday that daycare owner Carmel Mauda, who has been accused of abusing children under her care in the daycare center she ran, will return to police custody.

A district court judge had rejected detention alternatives suggested by her attorney, including the options that she stay at the home of people who volunteered to watch over her, at a hotel or at the house of her brother.

>> Read more: Israel's daycare nightmare: Staff describes routine child abuse and humiliation 

In July, the building where Mauda lived and which housed her daycare center was set on fire.

Mauda was indicted Sunday on 18 counts of abusing the helpless for mistreating toddlers at the daycare she ran out of her Rosh Ha’ayin home. The prosecution claimed that Mauda abused 11 toddlers in May and June.

The Supreme Court accepted her appeal against a decision to detain her until the end of legal proceedings and decided on house arrest instead. Her release was delayed since one of her relatives, who had committed to supervise her, retracted her agreement due to pressure from parents of abused children. 

Supreme Court Justice Isaac Amit said that the severity of the accusations was not a reason to hold her in detention, nor was a concern that she may harm herself. A lower court had ruled that she was dangerous not only in situations such as those described in the indictment, thus warranting extended detention.

Justice Amit wrote that pressure and threats against her were no reason to keep her in detention until her trial. He added that the law doesn’t permit “protective detention,” and stated that “a decision on detention cannot depend on external pressure by the public or by victims, despite one’s understanding for their pain and anger.”

After the location of where she was being kept under house arrest was discovered, demonstrators appeared and demanded that she remain in jail.