‘Riddled with lies’: Former Israel president Moshe Katsav facing four years behind bars after being found guilty of rape.
The former president of Israel has been found guilty of two charges of rape this morning.
Moshe Katsav, who was in charge of Israel for seven years from 2000 to 2007, was forced to step down due to the allegations.
And now the 65-year-old, the eighth president of Israel, has been convicted of rape by a court in Tel Aviv, the country’s second-largest city, and faces at least four years in prison.
Katsav had faced two allegations of rape by an employee when he was tourism minister in the 1990s. He was also accused of later sexual offences.
Judge George Karra, who presided over a panel with two other judges, delivered the verdict and said: ‘We believe the plaintiff [Woman A] because her testimony is supported by elements of evidence, and she told the truth.’
Katsav’s evidence, the judges decided, was ‘riddled with lies’.
The verdict marks the climax of a four-and-a-half year saga that has riveted the nation as it watched its top citizen face the most serious charges ever levelled toward an Israeli public official.
Israel’s presidency is a largely ceremonial position but the allegations roiled the country by portraying the man supposed to be Israel’s moral compass as a predatory boss who forced himself on female employees.
Katsav resigned in 2007, was charged in March 2009, and was replaced as president by Shimon Peres, the incumbent.
According to the indictment, the rape charges dated back to April 1998 when Woman A alleged he had first raped her at the Tourism Ministry office and later at a hotel in Jerusalem.
Before Katsav, who denied the charges, arrived for the verdict a crowd gathered outside the district court, including many women’s rights activists.
He had rejected a plea bargain in 2008 that would have seen him plead guilty to sexual misconduct but avoid more serious charges.
Katsav is also facing charges of lesser sex crimes involving two other former employees and a verdict on those charges is expected later today.
The further charges related to claims of sexual harassment of two women in 2003 and 2005 during his presidency.
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