A policeman convicted in a plea bargain of rape by deception and fraud against six women was sentenced to 4.5 years in jail on Thursday.
The man, Itzik Zrihan, will also have to pay the women compensation totaling 174,000 shekels ($55,000), the Central District Court in Lod ruled.
According to the Police Internal Investigation Department's indictment, Zrihan presented himself to the women as a bachelor holding a classified position with the police. He proposed that the women, some of whom come from a financially impoverished background, join his unit and thereby improve their income.
He told them the job would involve romancing criminals, including having sex with them, as a way of collecting information that the police could allegedly use. The policeman also said that having sex with him was a necessary part of their training, without which they wouldn’t get the job.
For years, Zrihan demanded that the women find other women whom he could recruit and asked them to pay for hotel rooms and apartments out of their own pocket. In addition, he ordered them to keep the whole business secret.
The plea bargain was reached with the women’s consent, in part because it spared them from testifying. Under the deal, Zrihan was convicted of rape by deception and aggravated fraud.
The defendant “took control of the complainants’ lives, while intimidating, humiliating and degrading them,” the three-judge panel wrote in its verdict. “This was a serious indictment,” said prosecutor Nataly Hagai from the Justice Ministry department that investigates police misconduct.
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“The defendant exploited these young women’s naïveté and lied to and deceived them time after time. The plea bargain in this case left the serious charges in the indictment, and the sentence handed down was significant, sending a message of deterrence and condemnation.”
Zrihan’s lawyer, Zeev Aloni, countered that the plea bargain was “an exceptional achievement for the defense,” because the original charges had been even graver. The deal was reached thanks to mediation by the district court and due to “evidentiary problems that arose during the hearings,” he added.