Shaul Ganon
Photo: Moti Kimchi

Immunity deal struck with LGBT activist draws ire

Voices in gay community claim letting Shaul Ganon off the hook despite mounting evidence that he kept silent though knowing he was intended target of 2009 shooting 'sends wrong message'

The deal signed by the police with LGBT activist Shaul Ganon – suspected of having molested an underage relative of the Barnoar shooting perpetrator, granting him immunity from prosecution was widely criticized Sunday as misjudged.


Yonatan Buks, who was injured in the 2009 shooting at the LGBT youth center, which has left two dead and 11 wounded, said "Ganon should be punished for all the years he knew and kept quiet." 


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Last week, Buks said the manner in which Ganon spoke to him in the aftermath of the shooting was suspicious and included advice not to talk to police investigators. He added the claims by Hagai Felician's younger relative that Ganon did not abuse him sexually are lacking credulity. "Why should he be let off easy?" Buks further added, referring to Ganon.


Ganon told Yedioth Ahronoth that he "had nothing to do with the murder case," and committed no offence that might somehow be connected to it. He did concede that he might have been the target of the deadly attack, adding he was sorry innocent people were murdered and injured.


Eran Hahn, coordinator at a hotline for male victims of sexual abuse, said the decision sent the wrong message to victims. "It is very difficult for men to complain as it is. The feeling of being the victim of an attack entangled with a perceived failure to act as a man and prevent it is extremely difficult as the sense of helplessness is not part of the accepted standard of masculinity. Police are sending the message that the victim's experience is erased off the record. Those are problematic messages to broadcast."


The activist added that as the alleged victim of the abuse was 15 years old at the time, any sexual relationship could not have been consensual by definition, as it would fall under the legal definition of statutory rape.


He further added "police don't think of the victim, they have their sights on the indictment and the body of evidence they are required to gather for it to end in conviction. Whereas in real life there are usually no witnesses to sexual abuse, it's a matter of one man's word against another's. In the present case they seek to establish the motive, and whether it was molestation or consensual sex is of scant interest to them."


"The fact that the man who is suspected of having sex with minors made considerable contributions to the community does not mean he could never make a wrong move. The problem lies in the societal perception of who can be branded a rapist. Usually you would get a description of someone who is problematic in character and lacks social skills, but in reality it's different. Even popular, important people can commit rape."


Head of the Israeli Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Association Shai Deutsch said the community was going through a difficult patch. "If it will emerge there was a sexual relationship, we condemn the act," he said, adding he preferred to not interfere with police investigation but said the association will have to deal with the message broadcasted by the findings of the investigation once it's complete.


Ayala Katz, mother of Barnoar fatality Nir Katz, slammed police for the bargain they made with the state witness, a known criminal who is suspected of having aided Hagai Felician in planning the attack. "Surely if Ganon is proven guilty, he should be punished to the full extent of the law. Yet saying 'how can you make bargains with such a man' is hypocritical, when deals are being made with an accessory to murder."


Noam (Dabul) Dvir and Neri Brenner contributed to this report 



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פרסום ראשון: 06.16.13, 17:07
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