Another Senior Police Officer Accused of Sexual Harassment

Officers seving under intelligence chief Guy Nir have complained about improper and humiliating treatment.

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

The head of the police’s intelligence unit was put on forced leave on Tuesday due to evidence of inappropriate behavior.

The police had launched an internal probe into Brig. Gen. Guy Nir even before he informed the Justice Ministry of a policewoman’s sexual harassment allegations against another senior cop, Lahav 433 head Maj. Gen. Roni Ritman. An investigation into Ritman is currently underway.

The internal committee established to look into Nir’s conduct submitted its preliminary findings to Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich recently. The findings, which indicate that Nir may have committed disciplinary offenses, prompted Alsheich to put Nir on forced leave.

The probe began after officers who served with Nir complained that he treated them improperly and in a humiliating fashion. They also said he gave preferential treatment to policewomen with whom he had close relations and allowed them to exceed their authority.

When the internal probe is completed, all the material it has gathered will be sent to the Justice Ministry department that investigates police misconduct. As Haaretz reported earlier this week, a person involved in the probe said that some of Nir’s actions could constitute criminal offenses, rather than merely disciplinary ones.

At some point during this process, Alsheich will also hold a hearing for Nir to discuss his future in the police force.

On Sunday, former Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino testified to Justice Ministry investigators in Ritman’s harassment case. Among other things, they asked whether he had known about the alleged harassment, as claimed by the policewoman involved.

Danino was also asked about his relationship with Nir, whom Ritman accuses of having engineered the sexual harassment allegation in an effort to “settle accounts” with him. The Ritman probe uncovered evidence that Danino had asked Nir to end his own inappropriate relationships with policewomen serving under him, and that Nir responded by threatening to make use of embarrassing material about other officers, possibly including Danino himself. The complaints against Nir by his colleagues are apparently what sparked Danino’s conversation with him.

The complainant against Ritman, a female police officer who served under him, claims he tried to kiss her against her will on two separate occasions. Ritman denies the allegations. Polygraph tests have found that both he and the complainant were telling the truth.