A 40-year-old high-tech executive from central Israel was arrested on suspicion of sexually harassing hundreds of young children aged 10-13 online over the past four years.
The suspect, who is known to the police as a pedophile, confessed to the acts during an interrogation, and claimed that he has a problem that must be treated. Pedophilic material was also uncovered on his computer.
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The Kfar Saba Magistrate's Court extended the suspect's remand by eight additional days. The court has issued a gag order over the suspect's identity following his attorney's request.
The suspect, a father of three, allegedly built up a network of false identities, entered social chat rooms and pretended to be a young girl in order to connect with young children.
During his conversation with the underage children, the suspect convinced them to send him photos of themselves naked and perform indecent acts. The police further suspect that the 40-year-old man convinced the children to have virtual sex with him.
During his interrogation, the suspect claimed that he never met with any of the children, or spoke to them on the phone.
Authorities were alerted to the suspect's online activities, following a complaint that was filed with the police. With the help of a special Interpol unit which specializes in locating pedophiles, the suspect was caught.
The suspect's computer revealed a messenger program with over one thousand underage contacts on it. Police sources have said that they are trying to locate the suspect's other victims.
The suspect was arrested at his work place at a high-tech company. Following his arrest, he tried to commit suicide, but police officers managed to prevent him from taking his life. He was then taken for psychiatric evaluation where it was determined that he is dangerous to himself.
During the suspect's hearing, his attorney claimed that he served as a volunteer in the IDF's Intelligence unit for many years. He further said that the suspect works as a senior high-tech executive and that his acquaintances are all in total shock. "He's in a terrible mental state," said his attorney.
Judge Merav Ben Ari ruled that the man is suspected of committing indecent acts and was in possession of pedophilic materials, and therefore can not be released at this point of the investigation. "The number of potential victims in this case is large, and even if the police don't manage to reach all of them, it does not mean the truth cannot be found," Ben Ari said.
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