The suspected major was accused on Tuesday of a series of sexual crimes over a period of two months, and was suspended from his position as a company commander since the military police investigation on the matter began.
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According to the indictment, the acts occurred during recruit training period as well as in operational activity. The suspect claimed the acts carried no sexual significance and were merely friendly, jocular overtures, adding he meant no offence against any of the plaintiffs.
The company commander is accused of pinching the nipples of one of his sergeants and hitting him in the groin while holding his testicles. It was also claimed that the officer used to lie down beside the sergeant, caress his face, hug and kiss him, and whisper in his ear to wake him up.
The indictment also alleges that the officer asked the sergeant to massage his back on several occasions.
"In one instance he even removed the blanket from the subordinate's body while he was sleeping and told him 'you're nearly naked,' and asked him to teach him how to give a massage," the indictment reads.
"When the subordinate refused, the company commander told him 'give me a kiss and I'll leave you alone.'" On other incidents the officer asked the subordinate to take off his clothes and told him: "What are ashamed of? I've already seen it."
The alleged series of sexual assaults does not end there. During a company vacation, the commander allegedly slapped the sergeant in his face. On another occasion he grabbed his radio operator by the neck, bit his back, lied on his stomach and kissed his neck.
He asked the radio operator to kiss him several times and hit his testicles. It was also claimed that the officer used to touch the radio operator's buttocks and genitals without his consent.
The indictment alleges 27 charges against the commander, including indecent acts, violence toward a soldier, sexual harassment, and improper behavior toward eight subordinates.
The officer's attorney said in response that "at the most, my client behaved improperly toward staff members in the company. It should be noted that no one considered his acts to have a sexual significance.
"The military prosecution's insistence on alleging offences of a sexual nature is incomprehensible. Today it's completely unclear where to draw the line. When a girl calls her friend a 'sexy thing,' is that sexual harassment? When a soldier taunts his friend, calling him the same, is that harassment? Apparently according to the military prosecution it is. If so – we do not agree."
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