Erez Efrati, the IDF chief of staff's bodyguard convicted of attempted sodomy, was sentenced to eight years in prison and two years probation, and was ordered to pay NIS 150,000 ($39,200) compensation to his victim.
Efrati struck a plea bargain in which he confessed to and was convicted of attempting sodomy on a 22-year-old woman after his bachelor party at the Tel Aviv Port. Efrati's brothers and close friends attended Thursday's sentencing hearing, but his mother and fiancée, Vered Eli, were absent.
In the hearing, the Tel Aviv District Court judges said Efrati's "behavior is characteristic of a serial sex offender, who did everything in his power to complete carrying out the offense. He followed a young woman who fell prey to him. We were unable to get an explanation for his actions."
Efrati in court this week (Photo: Yaron Brener)
Judge Daphna Avnieli wrote in the ruling that "Efrati's behavior is the embodiment of every woman's nightmare." She added that in light of the testimonies on his behalf, his contribution to society and the fact that he has no history of violence, his behavior the night of the incident was reminiscent Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Attack after bachelor party
The incident occurred in November 2009, when Efrati was leaving his bachelor party, under the influence of alcohol. He seized the complainant as she was entering her vehicle parked near the Tel Aviv Port and dragged her into the bushes where he beat her, tore her clothes, and attempted to sodomize her.
Efrati initially denied attacking the woman, and later said he could not be held responsible for his actions because he had suffered alcohol poisoning. He later abandoned this claim and admitted to attempted sodomy as part of a plea bargain. The charges against him were consequently changed from aggravated rape to attempted sodomy.
Prosecution wanted 10 years
The judges said the victim was forced into a "nightmare" during which she felt that her life was in danger. They said, "The victim of the offense is a significant factor and not a minor one in the court's considerations, when it is tasked with determining the appropriate punishment for the defendant."
Dr. Dana Pugach of the Noga Legal Center for Victims of Crime, which represents the complainant, expressed satisfaction with the judges' words and said, "The court is sending an important and clear message regarding the victims of crimes, and we welcome this."
Attorney Keren Nahari, who represents Efrati, said she hoped for a lighter sentence. She said she plans to consider appealing the sentence after reviewing the verdict in depth.
Attorney Ruth Erez of the prosecution, who requested a 10-year prison term, said the pain the victim has suffered since the incident was the main consideration in the judges' decision.
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