Accountability and transparency within our institutions and leadership.
posted by jewishwhistleblower @ 3:11 AM
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/565280.htmlFri., April 15, 2005 Nisan 6, 5765 Ex-public housing official gets 6 years for sexual extortion By Zvi Harel The Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court yesterday sentenced a former public housing official to six years in prison for sexually extorting seven women. Judge Hanan Efrati handed the prison sentence down to Ya'akov Cohen, who directed the collections department of the Halamish public housing corporation in Tel Aviv-Jaffa.Cohen was convicted of sexually assaulting seven female residents after promising them he would reduce or cancel rent payments they owed on their apartments. A number of the complainants were single mothers.The former official was convicted of seven separate counts of sexual extortion, sexual abuse and harassment as well as extorting NIS 10,000 from four residents of Halamish apartments who sought to reduce their payments.Efrati also ordered Cohen to pay NIS 40,000 in compensation to the complainants.The judge rejected the defense attorney's request to delay imprisonment, and ordered Cohen's immediate jailing.Cohen would telephone some of the female tenants directly, put pressure on them, and request to visit them at home. One of the women, a single mother, said she acceded to Cohen's request to have sex, because she "was afraid they would throw me out of the apartment. Another woman said she agreed to have sex with Cohen in exchange for a reduction of her debt from NIS 3,000 to NIS 1,000."He told me very explicitly that the debt would be reduced, and it was reduced. I had relations with him because he helped me financially. He supported me. I would go and sleep with a stranger. I couldn't even bring my children a slice of bread, and I had no formula for my baby girl. I had no choice, so I went and slept with him," the woman told the court.Cohen, 48, served as director of the company's collection department from September 1999 until April 2001, when the investigation into his activities commenced, and he was suspended. As head of the collection department, Cohen was responsible for collecting rent from tenants of Halamish-owned apartments and arranging payments for tenants who had a backlog of unpaid rent.
A detailed study of child sexual exploitation in North America has concluded that the problem is far more widespread than has been previously documented. The study, to be released on Monday by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, relied on interviews with victims, child welfare workers and law enforcement officials in 28 cities in United States, Mexico and Canada from January 1999 through last March. It also relied on the latest public and private estimates on the number of runaway and homeless youths in the three countries and on estimates by law enforcement officials and child welfare authorities of the number of these children sexually exploited. The study estimated that in the United States 325,000 children a year were subjected to sexual exploitation, including prostitution, use in pornography and molestation. The study's authors said the number of abused children was much higher than was previously thought. "The magnitude of the problem is really something that is not understood," said Richard J. Estes, one of the main authors of the report and a professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work. The study estimated that among the sexually exploited children in the United States, 121,911 ran away from home; 6,793 fled mental hospitals, foster homes or other institutions; and 51,602 were thrown out of their home by a parent or guardian. It said that about 11,500 were foreign-born children who came into the United States either legally or illegally. The study found that 47 percent of sexual assaults on children were committed by relatives; 49 percent by acquaintances, such as a teacher, a coach or a neighbor; and only 4 percent by strangers. The researchers also reported that about 20 percent of sexually exploited children who were interviewed were involved in prostitution rings that worked across state lines. The study found that 95 percent of the commercial sex involving boys was with men, and it found that at least 25 percent of girls in gangs had had sex with other members as part of the gang rites. The report provides a profile of people who engage in sex with minors: nearly all men and about a quarter of them married with children. The profile was compiled from interviews with victims and arrest records. The study's authors said official reports seriously underestimated the problem. The study found gaps in policies and services to combat sexual exploitation and help the victims. The researchers' recommendations for dealing with the problem, included increasing penalties, enforcing existing laws more vigorously and expanding the federal government's role in combating abuse. The data from Mexico and Canada were not available today. http://www.nytimes.com
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