In an interview with Yedioth Ahronoth, the first since his arrest,"Harem leader" Goel Ratzon has denied the charges against him and claimed his relations with the more than 30 women who lived with him were based on love and respect.
An indictment was filed against Ratzon on Sunday, charging him with multiple counts of sex offences including rape, sodomy, indecent assault and enslavement. The incitement suggests that in dozens of cases the victims were minors.
During the interview, held a day prior to the filing of the indictment, Ratzon said: "There was no slavery. We had warm relations. (There was) full understanding between us, a genuine desire to help one another. A woman does not stay in a place she is not pleased with for 15 years."
Ratzon also claimed that he "loved all of the women and protected them too."
Asked whether he had indeed raped some of the women, including minors and blood relatives, he replied, "I never engaged in forced sexual relations."
Ratzon is being held in solitary confinement at the Hadarim prison north of Tel Aviv. Yedioth Ahronoth learned that attorney Shlomzion Gabai-Mendelman, who is representing Ratzon on behalf of the Public Defender's Office, plans to file an appeal with the Supreme Court for motion that would allow her client to make telephone calls.
Meanwhile, Gabai-Mendelman slammed Ratzon's imprisonment conditions.
"The inhumane solitary confinement conditions under which my client is kept are worse than those of security prisoners convicted of much more serious offences," she said.