Police suspect that at least 13 teens raped and abused a young woman for three years, since she was 15, and videotaped their actions - the Tel Aviv Juvenile Court cleared the story for publication Monday.
Several other teens are suspected to have known of the case through word of mouth, but police were involved only recently when one of the parents came forward.
Twelve of the suspects are underage while one is above 18, but his identity has been placed under a gag order because the crimes he is accused of were allegedly committed while underage.
The youths have been charged with rape, abuse, threats, and extortion. Police say the case is one of the worst to have been revealed in Tel Aviv in recent years, and that they possess evidence involving additional suspects.
Police say the young woman's abuse began at age 15 with a simple love affair between herself and a boy her age, who later took advantage of her feelings for him to force her to have sexual relations with his friends – at times with several of them present.
The girl, now 18, was summoned by police for questioning and described many incidents of rape. She said she had been beaten and humiliated by the suspects, and that they had thrown bags of water at her. Police also suspect that some of the videos showing the girl being raped by the suspects can be seen online.
"The fact that for years this relationship went on without anyone finding out is problematic," a senior officer with the Tel Aviv District said.
Chief Superintendent Yedidia Sabag, who is heading the investigation, said the abuse was orchestrated by one of the 13 suspects. "He was the mediator, controlled the girl, and turned her into his and his friends' sex slave," Sabag said at a briefing Monday.
He added that the same young man would take the girl to different places, such as his friends' houses, alleys, or public parks, have sex with her, and then call his friends to join.
'Good kids from good homes'
The suspects reside throughout Tel Aviv. Some attended the same school as the main suspect and the girl, and some are their neighbors. Police say that generally the girl consented to whatever the main suspect demanded of her, but that in some cases she was violently subdued.
The main suspect will also be charged with two incidents of attempted rape of the girl's friend.
Many of the suspects reside in one of Tel Aviv's most affluent neighborhoods, and many residents were shocked by their arrests. Their parents have so far been present at every hearing and very protective of their offspring, claiming that whatever took place was consensual and that the girl behaved "provocatively".
"Today everything is rape, everything is criminal," said the father of one of the youths. "A girl is raped for three years but doesn't say a word? Everyone should look at the photos that she herself placed online and see how provocative this girl is."
Another father claimed the suspects were "good kids from good homes, who want to enlist to combat units".
But other parents admitted that foul play had been involved.
"There are suspicions that in certain situations force was used, but there some boys who joined out of sexual innocence," one parent said.