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Monday, October 14, 2013

Ex-Jerusalem District Police chief Shaham charged with sexual harassment

The Justice Ministry's Police Investigation Unit has filed an indictment against former-Jerusalem District Police Commander Maj.-Gen. Nissim (Niso) Shaham Monday on criminal charges of sexual harassment, performing indecent acts, breach of trust and fraud in an affair involving eight female police officers.

According to the indictment, which was filed with the Jerusalem Magistrates' Court, Shaham had numerous affairs and had sexual relations with a number of female police officers, almost all of whom were significantly younger and lower in rank than him.
The police's internal investigation unit said that the indictment was filed following discussions held with the prosecution and it described the manner in which Shaham forged sexual relations with younger officers in contradiction of police directives, ethical standards and conduct befitting a high ranking officer and public servant.

In addition, Shaham is also being accused of weighing in on decisions pertaining to the careers of the women he had been in contact with, despite the his obvious conflict of interests.

The indictment goes on to describe the type of relationship the commander conducted with his female underlings, including numerous phone calls and casual sexual relations at the police station or in police vehicles, as well as at their homes.

The indictment also claims the commander had sexual relations with the female officers in his mother's house and a number of locations nationwide.

Abuse of power

Shaham allegedly met the female officers as part of his position as their indirect superior officer. Over time, the officers would come to Shaham's office, supposedly on police-related matters, and request assistance in receiving an appointment, securing funding for studies, transfer to other units and more.

In many situations, the female officers were completely dependent on Shaham to intercede on their behalf, with his decision holding immense sway over their lives. According to the indictment, a number of women reported feeling uncertain over the process and their dependency on Shaham's whims.

Shaham, on his part, did not bar himself from intervening and ruling in their cases, despite his clear conflict of interests and need to keep his unusual relations with them a secret.

According to the police, such a situation harms not only the credibility of police commanders but also the public's trust in the police and the moral standing of the force.

The indictment also describes the manner in which Shaham used his status to lure female underlings into intimate situations, and thus committed additional sexual offences. According to the indictment, he performed indecent acts on two female officers and sexually harassed another female officer of a lower rank, thus taking advantage of his position.

With the indictment, a request to extend the gag order on the investigation was also filed, according to the police, in a bid to protect the identity of the female officers.

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