Katsav indicted in plea bargain

Former Israeli president Moshe Katsav was charged with molestation and sexual harassment.

The State Attorney’s Office filed an indictment against Katsav in Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, in accordance with a plea bargain he agreed to last year.

Under the deal, Katsav admitted that he molested and sexually harassed female staffers in exchange for the state dropping more serious rape charges. Prosecutors have asked that he receive a suspended prison sentence and pay $12,000 in damages to the complainants.

Israel’s High Court of Justice upheld the plea bargain Tuesday, rejecting petitions by feminist and government watchdog groups that argued Katsav was enjoying preferential treatment.

The indictment must still be ruled on, leaving the possibility that the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court could decide to step up the penalty to include jail time.

Meanwhile, a parliamentary committee is trying to have Katsav stripped of some $300,000 worth of annual benefits to which he is entitled as a former head of state.

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