Israel Withdraws Indictment Against Rabbi Charged With Raping 14-year-old Student

'Evidentiary problems' with the woman's testimony led to a cancellation of the indictment almost a year after it was filed

Rabbi David Harrison.
Screenshot / Facebook

The State Prosecutor’s Office has withdrawn the indictment filed against Rabbi David Harrison, who was charged with abusing and raping a student of his at a religious girls’ high school in Jerusalem. It appears that the prosecutors found too many issues with the woman’s testimony to continue with the case.

Harrison was indicted in December 2016 on dozens of charges, including rape, sodomy, indecent, assault and intimidation, which he allegedly committed against a 14-year-old student who was in ninth grade at the time. The indictment was filed seven years after the alleged events occurred.

Harrison was arrested in early December 2016 and held in jail for about a month before being released to full house arrest for another 10 months.

The evidentiary stage of his trial was scheduled to start on Sunday and the complainant was supposed to testify in court. However, last Thursday prosecutors informed the court that they would withdraw the indictment. Harrison was acquitted and released.

Harrison’s lawyer, Ester Bar-Zion, said they were pleased with the decision to withdraw the indictment and bring about Harrison’s complete acquittal, though they regretted that an indictment had been filed in the first place, despite the fact that he maintained his innocence and passed a polygraph test.

“Evidentiary developments in the complainant’s testimony have occurred since the indictment was filed, which require a reexamination of all the evidence in the case,” stated the Jerusalem District of the State Prosecutor’s Office. “After examining the evidence in a thorough and in-depth fashion, including talks and a meeting with the complainant, the prosecution reached the overall conclusion that the evidence in the case does not provide a reasonable basis for convicting the defendant on the level required in a criminal proceeding. The decision was made after bringing it to the knowledge of the complainant and her lawyer, and after hearing their position.”