The Tel Aviv District Court on Tuesday ordered Erez Efrati to pay NIS 1.6 million ($430,000) in restitution to a woman he sexually assaulted in November 2009 after a bachelor party at the Tel Aviv port. Some NIS 150,000 ($40,000) of this sum have already been handed over the victim.
Efrati, who was a bodyguard to former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, was convicted of attempted sodomy and assault as part of a plea bargain. He was sentenced to eight years in prison.
The victim initially demanded NIS 2.5 million ($670,000) in compensation, but during Tuesday's hearing she agreed to a settlement in her damages claim. "I've decided to end the civil process and try to rehabilitate myself," she said. "Being in court is unbearable for me – at least I won’t have to deal with it anymore."
Following the ruling, the victim said she was "very relieved that this battle is behind me. I decided to sue because I wanted the attacker to pay for the mental and physical damage he has caused me, and I hope this verdict will give other victims the strength to sue."
During the incident Efrati, who was intoxicated, 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.
“I’m guilty and I’m responsible for the damage caused to the victim and her family,” he told the court.
A few months ago the plaintiff sued for more than NIS 2.5 million in damages, claiming she was suffering from nightmares and was finding it difficult to function. "I feel as though I'm not the same person anymore," she said at the time. "It ruined my life."
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