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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Jerusalem - African migrant acquitted of sexually assaulting teen

The Jerusalem District Court on Tuesday acquitted a Sudanese national charged with indecent acts, ruling that the high-school girl he had sex with had been intoxicated and chose to have the encounter. 

The incident took place in April last year.

According to the indictment, at the end of a high-school graduation party at a house in Sdot Micha, 25-year-old Mahmoud Fadoul raped the teenager in his room nearby. The prosecution later changed the charge to indecent acts under aggravated circumstances. Fadoul held a temporary permit allowing him to stay in Israel.

The judges ruled that the teenager went to the defendant’s room, got into his bed and asked him to have sex with her. The judges said they believed the defendant’s testimony, even though he had difficulty giving it in a foreign language.

They ruled that although the girl had drunk alcohol throughout the evening, she was still able to express free consent to sexual contact. They added that even if she had been in a state where she could not express free consent, the defendant could not have known this.

“It cannot be determined beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was aware that the plaintiff was in a state of intoxication or another state of awareness that prevented her from giving her free consent to the sexual acts,” wrote Zvi Segal, the president judge in a three-judge panel.

The judges noted the fact that the defendant had been asleep during the first part of the contact between him and the plaintiff, and that he was an African migrant who did not completely understand the local culture.

“Every case that reaches our desks contains a human story. Every story lays before us a web of pain that is often very sad. Unfortunately, this case is no different,” Segal wrote.

“S., the plaintiff, went to the party to celebrate her high-school graduation, but for her the party ended in a chilling and unbearably painful way, when she arrived home and discovered, to her shock, that her body had been bruised.”

According to Segal, “The court was completely aware of this pain …. We wish the plaintiff complete healing and recovery for her injured soul.”

Still, Segal said that many questions remained unanswered. He said there were “black holes in the plaintiff’s memory – gaps that cannot be filled in a way that enables us to say beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of the acts attributed to him.”

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