Prosecution: Katsav Saw Women Staffers as Pool of Sexual Objects

Former president's defense team reacts to prosecution's sexual harassment trial closing statement saying it demonizes Katsav, treats him like 'a serial killer.'

Former president Moshe Katsav exploited his lofty position to sexually harass female employees, treating the female workforce as a pool out of which he chose sexual objects, the prosecution in Katsav's sexual harassment and rape trial said in transcripts released on Tuesday.

The former president faces two counts of rape against A., who worked at the Tourism Ministry from March 1998 to January 1999, when Katsav served as tourism minister. One rape allegedly took place in the minister's office in Tel Aviv and the other at a hotel in Jerusalem. Katsav will also be charged with forcible indecent assault against A. and abusing the employer-employee relationship.

Moshe Katsav - Moti Kimche
Moti Kimche

In addition, Katsav will be charged with lesser offenses against two employees of the President's Residence - H., whom he allegedly hugged repeatedly against her will, and L., whom he allegedly hugged and kissed on the neck against her will.

According to documents released on Tuesday, "the evidence clearly shows that the defendant saw the women subordinate to him as a pool of which he chose some as sexual objects."

In the closing arguments, prosecutors Ronit Amiel and Nissim Merom added that the former president did not testify as an innocent man during his trial, providing a "convoluted, manipulative and scheming version" of the events.

"The defendant exploited his high level job and positions in government ministries, while simultaneously exploiting the obligation of these women to be near him and obey him in order to fulfill their work duties," the prosecution wrote.

"During their time with him, the accused harassed his female workers sexually with differing degrees of severity, including rape," the prosecution wrote.

The former president's defense team vigorously rejected the claims brought forth by the prosecution, saying that according to the prosecutions "outrageous opinion, the defendant set up a kind of terror archive in which he buried his victim' remains, as if it was the basement of a serial killer, who preserves the remains of his victims."

Defense lawyers Avigdor Feldman, Zion Amir and Avraham Lavie also said that the way in which Katsav was portrayed by the prosecution was "nauseating and fits into a clear motivation to demonize the defendant."