A court in Israel on Wednesday ordered the release to house arrest under restrictions of a teacher suspected of sexual offenses against her special needs student.
According to court fillings, the woman, 37, was suspected of molesting a 14-year-old girl, while taking advantage of her mental illness and "abusing the student's feeling of dependency and exploiting her own position of authority as an educator."
The ruling to allow her to remain under house arrest at her Kibbutz under the supervision of her husband and mother came despite the request by the police to remand her to custody for eight days.
Magistrate Court Judge Ayelet Hashahar Bitton Perla said although the evidence presented by the police is credible, she found no reason to keep the suspect in police confinement after no attempt to evade justice was made since the investigation began.
The court granted a 24-hour delay in execution of its ruling to allow the police to appeal the decision to the District Court.
The investigation of the the teacher's conduct began two months ago when the 14-year-old girl complained about her teacher.
Communications presented in court and found by the girl's mother, showed sexually explicit photos the teacher had sent, while correspondence between them indicates the two had shared an intimate relationship.
In one such exchange, the teacher quoted parts of a popular love song to which the student responded with other quotes from the same lyric. According to the student's family, the two would meet in a storage room outside the school, used for private tutoring.
The teacher has since been fired, and has been questioned by police a couple of times, before being informed that she was to face charges.
Tammy Ullman, the teacher's attorney, criticized the police for failing to investigate the allegations for an entire month.
"The police summoned the suspect for questioning with her phone, which contains all of her correspondence with the student, and indicated that the overtures were made by the young girl and not the teacher.
Ullman also claimed that the police had visited the student at home twice, pressuring her to provide damning testimony against her teacher.