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Thursday, February 07, 2013 

Unclear now whether a rape occurred in Modiin Illit

In the latest news on the investigation into the rape of a child in the ultra-Orthodox town of Modiin Illit, the witness is now claiming she made up the accusation:
The ongoing police investigation into the alleged rape of a 5-year-old girl in the haredi town of Modiin Illit has taken an unexpected turn. On Wednesday evening, lawyers for the preschool superintendent being questioned in the case handed Judea and Samaria District police investigators a statement in which the woman retracted her testimony, saying that she had made it up, and apologizing.

Shortly afterward, Channel 2 news broadcast an interview with the woman in which she said she had made it all up. Police are treating the new testimony with skepticism, and the investigation continues. [...]

The woman was released following her questioning, and on Wednesday evening retracted her testimony. "I embellished and made up the story," she said in a television interview. "I never thought it would get so blown out of proportion."

The woman says she made up the story in order to shake up the system, but never thought it would reach such monstrous proportions or that police would investigate it so intensively. She also said that when she was 16 she had been sexual assaulted but had never received proper treatment. She said she wanted to help the many children who had experienced sexual assault but did not get the treatment they need.

Questioned by police again on Wednesday, the preschool superintendent stuck to her new version, reiterating that she had made up the story. On Thursday morning, she is expected to be questioned once again under caution. If it turns out that the woman gave false testimony, she could face criminal charges.
So now, it's come to a confusing point. If the incident really did happen, then we have to assume she's been pressured to retract her initial testimony. If it didn't, then she's only served to harm victims of abuse in Haredi communities by filing false testimony about a certain case. Making phony claims does not help the victims of sexual assault, especially not when they're beginning to make headlines anyway. Yehuda Shlezinger has more.

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