Israel Police's U.S. Delegate Returns to Face Sexual Assault Probe

Maj. Gen. Uri Bar-Lev, the leading candidate for police chief, is accused of sexually assaulting a woman following a work meeting.

A woman who accused the leading candidate for police chief, Maj. Gen. Uri Bar-Lev, of sexually assaulting her took a polygraph test on Sunday and was found to be telling the truth about most of the details of the incident.

The results of the polygraph are not admissible in court, but the investigative team takes it into account in its work.

Uri Bar-Lev - Dudu Azoulay/Ynet - Nov. 21, 2010
Dudu Azoulay/Ynet

The woman, identified only as "O.," decided that she would file her complaint against Bar-Lev with the Justice Ministry's police investigations unit now because she felt that a person who conducts himself in such a manner should not be police commissioner, her husband told Haaretz on Sunday.

O. was asked in great detail about what had happened two years ago during a police conference in Eilat, after she and Bar-Lev had taken part in a working meeting over dinner in a restaurant. She said Bar-Lev tried to embrace her, pushed her down onto the grass and got on top of her, and continued to use force when she resisted.

Bar-Lev denies the woman's version of events.

On Sunday afternoon Bar-Lev, who is the Israel Police representative in the United States, landed in Israel, after moving up a planned trip. He declined to answer questions about the affair.

Bar-Lev is expected to give testimony at the offices of the Justice Ministry's Police Investigations Department on Monday, and sometime later this week may be asked to take a polygraph.

Investigators are also likely to stage a confrontation between Bar-Lev and O. about the incident, a common practice in cases like this.

Sources close to Bar-Lev said on Sunday that he intended to fight to reveal the truth and would relate to the involvement of various officials in the police and the Public Security Ministry in "creating" the complaint against him, although O. had not filed a complaint against him in the Police Investigations Department.

On Sunday, O. is to appear again in the offices of the Police Investigations Department in Jerusalem.

Investigators have evidence that strengthens O.'s version of events, including the testimony of various professionals with whom she worked on the project she heads as well as close friends to whom she confided close to the time of the alleged incident.

Among those O. told what happened around the time it allegedly happened is Eilat's mayor, Meir Yitzhak-Halevi, and people who work for the Eilat Municipality. They have already testified to the Police Investigations Department, as did a close friend of O., whom O. told what happened the next day.

For investigators, this testimony is key, considering that in such cases the legal dispute usually boils down to a war of versions between the suspect and the complainant.

Yitzhak-Halevi said on Sunday that O. was courageous and very professional and an individual of high quality, and said he would not comment further.

O.'s attorney, Rachel Toren, told Haaretz on Sunday that her client had clearly not wanted to file a complaint against Bar-Lev, the reason being exactly what she said was now happening - a smear campaign and crude invasion of her privacy, with irrelevant questions.

Toren, who is representing O. together with attorneys Orna Lin and Aharon Shlein, added that "the only thing that requires examination in this matter is whether the act ascribed to Maj. Gen. Bar-Lev was commited or not, and what criminal, public or ethical significance it has. Toren also said: "The matter of Bar-Lev is part of another affair - O.'s complaint against the outgoing Public Security Ministry director-general, Hagai Peleg, which is now before the Civil Service Commission. The spotlight has been turned on O. as a distraction by certain interested parties."