Backgrounder: Israeli ex-president's sexual scandal

09:10, December 31, 2010      

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By Adam Gonn, Gur Salomon

Israel's Tel Aviv District Court on Thursday handed down a verdict against former Israeli president Moshe Katzav, finding him guilty of two counts of rape and multiple counts of sexual abuse of women he had worked with during his tenures in the Tourism Ministry and the presidency.

The historic verdict highlighted a scandal that erupted over four years ago, when several women who were subordinate to Katzav first approached the police and filed complaints of falling victim to rape, molestation and indecent sexual acts.

Katsav assumed the presidency in 2000. Seven years later, he was forced to announce his resignation in disgrace. He was the first in that capacity in Israeli history to stand trial and be convicted of sexual crimes.

Owing to the sensitivity of the case and the media buzz, legal proceedings were held behind closed doors. The former president's defense lawyers request that the reading of the verdict would be held without the media present was ultimately denied.

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