Three students from a prestigious Jerusalem high school were recently arrested on suspicion of physically and sexually abusing their schoolmate for two years, police said. The alleged victim of the abuse is now 14 years old.
Police say that among other forms of abuse, the three shackled the victim, defecated on him, beat him and extorted money from him. The abuse went on for two years, taking place in the victim's house and after school.
The attackers are believed to have documented their action on mobile phone cameras, and police are investigating whether they have distributed the footage around the school. Some eighteen months ago, the victim left the school, presumably because of the abuse, but the assaults continued.
"When we received the complaint we arrested two suspects of the same age, and then another suspect," said Superintendent Golan Meir, head of the youth division at the Moriah district police. "The teenagers have cooperated with investigators and their motivation appears to be sheer cruelty."
Because of the sensitive nature of the case, the name of the high school is not being released.
The abused boy did not come forward about the abuse until he told an instructor at study club he takes part in a few days ago.
The main suspect, believed to be the ringleader in the abuse, had his remand extended until Sunday. Another suspect was given 11 days house arrest, complete with a restriction order barring him from approaching the complainant. The third suspect was only arrested yesterday, and is expected to be arraigned today.
The main suspect's lawyer said that the situation was a complex one.
"It's a situation in which one can't necessarily discern a victim and a perpetrator," he said. "At the end of the day, the court ordered the police to make an effort to send the minor home, and has set conditions for his release. In this case, a connection should be made between all involved and the welfare authorities. The general direction should be therapy, not punishment."
"The suspect is not involved in the abuse investigated by the police," said the lawyer for the suspect released to house arrest. "All that he is suspected of is taking part in one incident, which was seen as a children's game. This is why he was sent to house arrest. He is a normative child and a good student."
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