Police's Anti-fraud Chief Suspected of Sexual Misconduct

Lahav 433 fraud investigation unit's Maj. Gen. Roni Ritman identified as senior police officer suspected of sexually harassing an officer under his command.

Lahav 433 fraud investigation unit commander Maj. Gen. Roni Ritman. August 2014.
Ofer Vaknin

Maj. Gen. Roni Ritman, the head of the Israel Police's Lahav 433 anti-fraud unit, was identified Sunday as the senior police officer suspected of sexual misconduct. The probe into Ritman began in wake of a complaint lodged by a female officer who had served under his command and who alleged at least two instances in which the senior officer had attempted to physically force himself on her.

The current assessment is that Ritman will be forced to step down once he returns from a seven-day vacation he took. According to a source with knowledge of the case, Ritman will likely quit even if the allegations against him are not found to be criminal, to prevent himself from facing a disciplinary committee.

At least three senior officers were questioned in the case so far, but the testimony of one is being taken with a grain of salt in light of what some have called problematic relations with Ritman. A female officer who also testified said she witnessed Ritman talking with the complainant in a vulgar manner at a social function.

The incident joins a series of cases involving top police officers who were investigated for various allegations, some of which were sexual in nature.

In February, it emerged that former deputy police commissioner Maj. Gen. Nissim Mor was suspected of sexually harassing a police officer who asked for his help.

A couple of weeks prior, the commander of the Judea and Samaria police district, Maj. Gen. Kobi Cohen, stepped down amid allegations that he pursued an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate.

In February, Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino fired Commander Moti Hariv, head of the Coastal District’s central investigations unit, after he was investigated for alleged sexual assault against a police volunteer.