The Jaffa Miltary Court acquitted a non-commissioned officer of charges of rape and conduct unbecoming involving a female soldier on Monday. The Military Prosecution appealed the ruling.
The sergeant-major, who serves in the reserves, was accused of raping a corporal who served under him in kitchen duty. He was acquitted two months ago over reasonable doubt despite the fact that he changed stories and lied during questioning.
The defendant initially denied ever having sexual relations with the soldier but later changed his story claiming the sex was consensual. However, the judges also pointed to suspicious signs in the complainant's testimony which made them question the element of lack of consent.
The verdict notes that the defendant's version was also unreliable as it was composed of several false and contradictory stories.
According to the indictment, the defendant urged the complainant to accompany him to a Jerusalem mall where he bought her underwear and food for a weekend to be spent in detention. He phoned her in the middle of the night and entered her room as she slept.
The indictment states that the complainant covered herself with a blanket as the defendant tried to convince her to undress. "When she refused he pulled the blanket by force, took off his uniform and underwear, sat on her legs and grabbed her hands while she cried and tried to resist," the indictment said. He then allegedly raped her and later said: "It's OK that we did this. It's natural for people to become attracted to one another" and left the room.
In their ruling the judges said, "The defendant left a bad impression on us. He lied through his teeth during questioning." They also found the complainant less than credible. Among other things, the panel noted that text messages of a sexual nature were exchanged between the two. They also pointed to a secret recording she made of herself accusing the defendant of raping her.
The Military Prosecution appealed the verdict. A hearing will be held on the matter next week.
Some officers in the Military Prosecution were surprised to find as presiding judge the IDF chief of staff's new advisor on women's affairs.