Israeli Man Convicted of Years-long Sexual Assault on Siblings From Same Family

Six children from a religious settlement complained about nearby resident Shlomi Cohen who had sexually assaulted the children for years while inviting them into his home

FILE Photo: An indicted suspect
Olivier Fitoussi

Shlomi Cohen, a 42-year-old resident of the religious settlement of Mevo Horon, near Latrun, was convicted on Monday of a long list of sex crimes that he committed against three siblings from the same family. The Be’er Sheva District Court ruled that Cohen committed sodomy, indecent acts, attempted rape and other sex crimes against five children, two boys and three girls, members of the same family, from 1996 through 2009. In the case of two of the children, however, the statue of limitations had run out.

Cohen was originally indicted in 2015 for committing sex crimes involving a sixth sibling, but the youth committed suicide later, during his military service, and the claims against the suspect were removed from the charge sheet.

Cohen began to assault the children some years ago, when he lived near their family in Gush Katif. He helped the children out financially, invited them over to his house, helped them with their homework, taught them to play musical instruments and took them to the beach. They also stayed with him during school vacations. After the disengagement from the Gaza Strip in 2006, when he and the family moved to central Israel, Cohen continued to commit sex crimes in their new house and in his own home.

Years later, one of the children read that Cohen had been convicted of sexually abusing a minor and sentenced to 44 months in prison. The siblings then filed a formal complaint against him with the police in Ashkelon.

In their verdict, the judges said that the defendant’s actions against the minors he had hurt and "his habitual behavior, which almost reached the level of subjugation, brought those he harmed to the point where, even after age 14, they were incapable of agreeing or not agreeing to sexual acts, certainly not with ‘free’ consent. This is because the defendant denied them, even before they matured and completed their adolescence, the real possibility of developing true sexual freedom.”

For his part, the prosecutor in the case, from the southern district, said that Cohen "had exploited the tender age of the complainants. The court accepted the prosecution’s position, put its complete trust in the complainants and convicted the defendant for committing numerous sex crimes.”

Cohen’s mother said the media had decided the outcome of the case even before the trial even began.