Tel Aviv Judge Favors Lifting Gag Order on Names of Suspected Pederasts

Suspects, two of whom are senior figures in sports and Internet, allegedly committed sodomy on minor when he was less than 16 years old.

A gag order barring publication of the names of nine people suspected of raping an underage boy should be lifted, Tel Aviv District Court Judge George Kara ruled on Monday.

However, at the request of the suspects' attorneys, the judge deferred implementation of his order until Tuesday to enable them to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Kara criticized a lower court's decision to bar publication of the names of some of the suspects, two of whom are senior figures in the sports and Internet industries, respectively. The judge considered the case for a week before issuing his ruling.

Some of the suspects allegedly committed sodomy on the minor at a time when he was less than 16 years old. Police also think the suspects may have committed similar acts on other minors under age 16, over the course of several years.

The main suspect in the case allegedly ran an escort service from his Tel Aviv home. Police say the service supplied underage boys, for a fee, to male customers for sex.

"On examining the material from the investigation, there is a solid evidentiary basis against all the suspects at this point, which establishes a reasonable suspicion that they committed sexual offenses against the victim," Kara wrote in his ruling.

He also addressed the suspects' argument that in their Internet contacts, the victim had represented himself as being 18 years old, but in face-to-face contacts, he then claimed to be 16 or even 14. "The suspects," wrote Kara, "conducted themselves with eyes closed, preferring the boy's false response to determining the real circumstances."

The judge also noted that publication of the names of some of the suspects could encourage other victims to come forward and contact the police.

Finally, he said, it was vital to warn the public about one suspect in particular, whose job involves work with small children and in whose home videos of child pornography were found.