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 Judea and Samaria District Police launched an investigation after haredi news outlets reported on rumors that a a 5-year-old girl on her way to preschool had been sexually assaulted. The police investigation ran up against a brick wall of silence from residents, municipal welfare workers and others. Police suspect that some people have information about the incident, but have been pressured by rabbis to keep it under wraps.
After several days, investigators found a woman said to have treated the girl after the assault and handed her over to her parents. The woman was the superintendent of several preschools in the chain that the girl attends, according to rumors. On Tuesday she was questioned by police and said that she had in fact treated the girl who had been raped, but refused to elaborate, saying, "I vowed not to say anything."
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.