Cleared for publication: Military Police and Israel Police investigators arrested three discharged soldiers in their 20s on suspicion they had sexual intercourse with nine students aged 15 while they served as instructors at the Air Force preparatory high school in Beersheba.
They are suspected of rape, statutory rape, indecent acts and sexual harassment by a person in a position of trust. One of the suspects has been released under restrictions, and the two others have been remanded in custody. The details of the affair were under a gag order which was lifted Thursday.
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The victims are still high school students. The investigation suggests some of them were not aware there was anything wrong with their relationships with the instructors.
Police believe there had been no coercion on the part of the suspects, who are suspected of abusing their power. Police also said it is possible more victims will come forward in the future.
IAH high school in Beersheba (Photo: Roee Idan)
The investigation suggests that the suspects had sex with their underage students inside the school, during after-hour tutorials. Investigators believe that while there had been no group sex, those involved were aware of their friends' activities.
Police are looking into several leads, including the possibility the victims were romantically attached to the suspects which prevented them from coming forward.
The affair had been exposed after a student, who wasn't involved in the case, filed a complaint with the IDF ombudsman several weeks ago.
"These are very serious offences," said a high-ranking IAF officer who described the suspects as members of good families.
It is suspected the alleged acts took place last year and possibly even earlier as one of the suspects had been discharged two years ago. The victims are under the care of social services and the school's management.
IAF commander Major-General Amir Eshsel has instructed commanders to hold talks with their soldiers and work to prevent similar cases.
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