Main Suspect in TA Gang Rape Case Strikes Plea Bargain

Prosecutors say plea bargain reflects severity of the crimes, but shows consideration for the accused having been underage at the time.

The main suspect in the gang rape of a Tel Aviv teenager signed a plea bargain with the state prosecution yesterday.

According to the plea bargain, to be presented to the Tel Aviv District Court today, the prosecution will ask for no more than six years and eight months imprisonment. The defending attorney, Keren Nahari, will ask that the eight months the defendant has already spent in jail be deemed sufficient.

Prosecutors said the plea bargain reflects the severity of the crimes, but shows consideration for the accused having been underage at the time they were committed.

Three other plea bargains in the affair will also be presented to the court this morning, with the prosecution seeking to impose punishments varying between community work and two years in prison.

In total, seven of the 14 accused have signed plea bargains, and none of the punishments are expected to exceed that of the main suspect.

In the plea bargain with the main suspect, the charges for manipulating the girl, 15 at the time, into sleeping with him will be reduced from aggravated rape to statutory rape, to which he will plead guilty.

He will also plead guilty to rape in circumstances preventing the girl from willingly giving her consent, on the numerous incidents in which he forced her to have sex with a number of his friends.

In the original indictment, the main suspect was described to have become romantically involved with the victim in 2006. Soon after they separated and decided to remain friends, the victim told the accused she was completely dependent on him, and would do anything he asked.

The prosecutors said that on realizing he could abuse the victim's mental state, the accused offered his friends to have sex with the girl.

Following orders

Over the course of three years, the group of teenagers had sex with the girl without her consent in private homes, public parks and bomb shelters, publicly, together and separately, all in the knowledge the girl did not want to have sex with them but was following their friend's orders.

The prosecution's consideration of the girl's mental state as preventing her from willingly agreeing to the acts is precedent-setting, since the formula is normally used in cases when the plaintiff was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The girl's attorney, Shira Donovich, said she and her family agreed to the plea bargain as the main suspect admitted to a large number of grave offenses and the amended indictment was still very grave.