Serial Sex Offender Has Jaffa Women on Edge

Man gropes three women in city over the last week; local women say scared to go out at night.

Police are searching for a man suspected of sexually assaulting at least three women in Jaffa the last week.

The assaults all occurred on streets near the Andromeda compound near Jaffa's beach. The assailant, according to the three women, appeared to be of Eastern European descent. He is relatively short (170 centimeters), and has long hair which he wears in a ponytail.

The first incident occurred last Wednesday on Hashahaf Street. The victim, a young woman, noticed the suspect approach her from behind, when he began caressing the lower part of her body.

A neighbor said the young woman screamed so loud she thought the victim was being murdered. The neighbor, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that by the time she came out of her house to see what the commotion was about, the assailant had run off.

While the officer were busy interviewing the victim from Shahaf Street, another call was placed to the police hotline to complain about another sexual assault which happened on Hatzedef Street - also nearby. The neighbor at Hashahaf Street said the officers to dispatch that they could not go to Hatzedef Street because they were busy with a different case.

Several minutes later, a third police car was dispatched to Hatzedef Street. The officers did not find the assailant, who had fled after hugging the third victim from behind. When the officers interviewed her, she gave them a description closely matching the assailant from the previous case.

The police was again called out to the prestigious neighborhood four days later. A foreign worker from the Philippines told the officers that an unknown assailant had hugged her from behind, and even took off her pants.

According to her account, she ran away from the suspect, but he pursued her. When she asked why he was assaulting her, he answered that it was because she was "beautiful."

"We have a sex offender walking around here," one female resident said. "The women around here don't dare come out of the house on their own, least of all after nightfall."

Police say that only one complaint was officially lodged against the suspect. But residents say that the police have made no effort to interview the women who said they had been assaulted. "There are a few houses with security cameras here, but the police have not come to check the tapes," one woman who lives in the neighborhood said.

The same woman says she is too frightened to walk her dog. "I'd rather have him go inside the house than go out at night," she added.