Jerusalem Police Chief Liked to Hug 'In a Fatherly Way,' Policewoman Says

Five female police officers accuse Jerusalem police chief Niso Shaham of molestation, but not everyone agrees on the merits of the case.

Jerusalem police chief Niso Shaham said on Sunday that he has held no information back in the sexual harassment case against him, while some colleagues expressed doubt about the charges against him.

Five female police officers have complained about Shaham. He is suspected of illicit sexual relations - having a relationship with a policewoman subordinate to him - as well as sexual harassment and indecent assault.

Shaham does not deny he had a sexual relationship with a policewoman, but he said he had no authority over the officer. He denies the other allegations.

Some officers who have worked with Shaham back him up.

"I don't understand how such a thing happened," said a policewoman who worked with him in previous posts. "He liked to hug, true, but it was always in a fatherly way. He was a commander, but he could also have a good time with you like a friend. I'm still in shock. We've been through some tough things, but nothing like this."

Another source who served with Shaham until recently told Haaretz that many people wanted to see the police chief "taken down."

"A lot of people had it in for him - not only people who worked for him," the source said. "He also had a lot of disputes with officers at national headquarters. Many people had an interest in seeing him taken down."

This was especially true given that Shaham was a main contender to become the next police commissioner, the source said.

Shaham issued a statement through his attorneys on Sunday - the first since the investigation was made public last week.

"Maj. Gen. Shaham has given his complete version of the events, holding back nothing during the investigation, and will continue to do so," the statement said. "He believes that the responsible and proper way is to have the issue clarified and handled through the investigative process, not through the media."