Former Israeli president indicted for sex offences

March 19th, 2009 - 8:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Tel Aviv, March 19 (DPA) Former Israeli president Moshe Katsav was indicted in the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court Thursday on charges of rape and indecent assault against a complainant who previously worked for him while he was Israel’s minister for tourism.
He was also charged with sexual harassment against an employee who worked at the president’s residence during his tenure.

The charges span Katsav’s time at the tourism ministry between 1996 and 1999, and his term as president between 2000 and 2007.

The lengthy indictment accuses Katsav of systematically abusing his power over the complainants in order to force improper relations of a sexual nature.

The prosecution named 56 witnesses, including the complainants and various public figures.

Katsav, 63, resigned the presidency in July 2007 because of the accusations. In 2006 he had complained to the Attorney General that he was being blackmailed by one of his employees, although the following investigations then implicated him in a range of sexual offences.

He signed a plea bargain in June 2007, that included comparatively mild sexual offences such as indecent assault and sexual harassment, but withdrew from it in April last year.

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