Ex-IDF Officer: I Claimed to Be a Pedophile to Get Out of Army

24-year-old soldier said he molested 17 children before enlisting, but retracted confession after arrest.

A former officer in an elite Israel Defense Forces unit has said he claimed to have been a pedophile in order to be discharged from the army, police said after a gag order was lifted on the affair on Tuesday.

The officer, 24, had confessed to his superiors that he committed 17 counts of child molestation while he was a babysitter in high school, before he enlisted, police said.

He reportedly said he would touch the children he was looking after while they were asleep.

The suspect, who is currently under arrest, signed on for extra time to serve as a career officer in order to do a university degree as part of his military service.

Police also said that the man retracted his confession several days after his arrest, claiming that he confessed to the alleged crimes in an attempt to secure an early discharge from the IDF.

Police investigators said none of the children he allegedly attacked remembered the incidents ever taking place.

The soldier's defense attorney said he was under severe emotional pressure when he confessed to the alleged crimes, and that he did not consider the consequences of telling such a story, as all he wanted to do was be discharged from his military obligations.

The court released the soldier to house arrest, but police have appealed the court order.

Meanwhile, police on Tuesday brought further, graver charges against an IDF officer who was arrested on Saturday on suspicion of attempting to rape a 22-year-old woman in Tel Aviv.

The police said the officer who belongs to the unit tasked with guarding the General Staff, is also suspected of rape, sodomy, and attack that caused severe injuries.

Court extended his remand by six days.

The Tel Aviv judge said that there is enough evidence to undoubtedly link the officer to rape charges, such as the victims' testimony and another eye witness who verifies her story.