IDF Brig. Gen. denies second sexual harassment accusation
Former Golani commander Ofek Buchri hit with second harassment claim in two days; he denies charges, saying both accusers are friends and that circumstances are suspicious, while his first accuser says she is prepared for a fight and wants a polygraph.
A second female soldier who served underneath Brigadier General Ofek Buchris complained on Wednesday that she had been sexually harassed by him, a day after he was first accused by another soldier. The soldier filed her complaint after the first accuser told investigators about other alleged victims.
Buchris strongly denied during questioning by the IDF Criminal Investigation Division (CID) that he had any sexual contact with the second accuser.
Investigators presented Buchris with details about specific events during which he allegedly sexually assaulted the first accuser. He responded with explanations that he said disproved the claims. Buchris noted that the two accusers have remained friends and that the speed with which the first accuser sent investigators to her friend raised questions. Both women served under the brigadier general when he was head of the Golani Brigade.
The CID believes that publicly identifying Buchris on Tuesday could lead to other former subordinates filing complaints.
The CID is expected to try using the first accuser’s psychological treatment records to bolster her version of events against Buchris’s denial. The addition of a second accuser is likewise expected to give further weight to the accusations – but investigators apparently do not yet have any evidence such as incriminating text messages.
The father of the fist accuser spoke to reporters on Wednesday, saying: "Golani is a family – part of the issue is that I was ashamed to look at the brown beret." According to the father, the family is not vengeful and is not out for money, but only seeks justice. According to a spokesperson for the first soldier, Burchis raped her while he was the head of the Golani division and she was a low ranking soldier – four years ago. She was raped several times over the course of a year. The father said that his daughter told him and her mother about the incidents about a year and a half ago.
The accuser herself said that she is “ready and prepared for a confrontation with Buchris” and requested that he receive a polygraph administered by the CID – not by a private examiner.
Regarding the first soldier, Brigadier General Buchris's lawyer called her claims "an allegation made by a soldier that claims the brigadier general had sexual relations with her five years ago, which happened as a result of his position of authority over her. The officer vehemently denies the allegations and declared that he never had any sexual contact with the soldier.
"During the investigation carried out by the CID, some of the facts the female soldier stated in her complaint were found to be contradictory to objective evidence," the lawyer continued. "Brigadier General Buchris has no idea why the soldier made these allegations, but she made them. The officer is putting his trust in the hands of the CID, hopes that the investigation will be completed soon, and is convinced that in the end he will continue to be a part of the security community, to which he has dedicated his life."