A Tel Aviv school teacher was convicted in a plea agreement on Thursday of raping and committing indecent acts on a 12-year-old female student of his.
According to the indictment, Yotam Okon, 37, forced the student to photograph herself performing acts that he made her carry out and to send him videos and photos along with messages of a sexual nature.
He committed the indecent acts at meetings that he had with her outside of school hours, the indictment reads.
As part of the plea agreement, Okon admitted to the allegations in an amended indictment and expressed regret for his actions.
The agreement provides for the amount of monetary compensation that he will pay his victim, but prosecution and defense lawyers did not come to agreement on Okon’s sentence in the case, which the court is expected to hand down in the coming months.
Okun’s lawyer, Sasi Gez, said that prior to the filing of a complaint with the police in the case, he has been in contact with the victim’s mother regarding monetary compensation and that the police complaint was filed after negotiations on compensation broke down.
The claims regarding sexually related meetings were only raised later, Gez said.
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“The defendant admitted to committing serious sexual offenses and severely harming a minor who was his student,” said Tami Kalenberg-Levi, a legal aid lawyer who represents the student. “The plea agreement does not include an agreement regarding the sentence, and the family hopes that the sentencing will reflect the serious harm that was done to the minor in particular and send a message to the entire education system about defending and protecting minors from harm.”
In August, Haaretz reported on a number of allegations from parents at the school where Okon taught fifth and sixth grade, claiming that over a course of his years as a teacher, he had made sexually related comments to female students and that the school had not taken steps to address the issue.
Several allegations related to claims that he had touched a female student’s behind and that he had touched another girl’s arm and made sexually explicit sounds.
“They were crazy about him,” the mother of one student said of his relationship with male students. “He spoke to them as equals, man-to-man. The boys admired him, and the girls were in love with him. Now it turns out that it was part of his pattern of behavior.”