Israeli Ex-cop Gets Away With Disciplinary Hearing for Sexual Harassment

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Coastal District Police Chief Hagai Dotan.
Coastal District Police Chief Hagai Dotan.Credit: Daniel Bar-On

The former commander of the police’s Coastal District, Maj. Gen. Hagai Dotan, will face disciplinary action for behavior unfitting an officer and sexual harassment, and not criminal charges, the Justice Ministry unit that investigates police officers decided on Wednesday. Dotan was already fired from the police last year after the allegations of sexual harassment against a number of female officers who served under his command were revealed.

The State Prosecutor’s Office announced that Dotan had admitted to the accusations as part of a plea bargain agreement. “It was decided given the circumstances of the acts committed, based on the retirement of the officer and his accepting personal and public responsibility on his part, that the disciplinary channel is adequate in order to provide a proper and proportionate response to the affair,” said the prosecution.

The head of the Justice Ministry department, Uri Carmel, and State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan made the decision not to try Dotan on criminal charges. As part of the plea bargain deal, Dotan will admit to inappropriate behavior that damaged the image of the police, and sexual harassment. Dotan will not return to the police, despite the relatively minor charges.

The prosecution said in its statement that Dotan confessed he had made inappropriate and offensive comments of a sexual nature to a number of women police officers under his command while he served in a number of senior positions. One of the reasons to only hold a disciplinary proceeding against Dotan was his acceptance of responsibility, along with the desire to spare the women involved the burden of testifying in court. In addition, his acts were only verbal statements and he never committed any physical acts. Furthermore, the age difference between Dotan and the female officer he had relations with was “relatively small” and no evidence was found he had abused his position of authority.

The Justice Ministry unit drew a lot of criticism over its handling of the case against Dotan, including the way investigators treated the women officers involved who complained about sexual harassment.

Information obtained by Haaretz in the past revealed that the complainants against Dotan were forced to undergo questioning that included threats against them. One police officer said the experience caused her a mental breakdown and another complained to high-ranking police brass and the Justice Ministry about the investigation. A third said she quickly understood that if she gave the answers the investigators wanted, only then would her “nightmare” end.

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