Inside Israel

Police to drop sexual assault charges against leading LGBT activist Gal Uchovsky

Police plan to recommend dropping sexual assault charges against screenwriter and producer Gal Uchovsky, one of the most prominent LGBT rights activists in Israel, Channel 13 reported Thursday.

Police opened an investigation into Uchovsky in November after the Kan public broadcaster published testimonies of men who said that Uchovsky sexually assaulted them in recent years.

Channel 13 said that after interviewing Uchovsky and the accusers, including a meeting between them, police believe that in two of the cases there was no indication of any criminal behavior on Uchovsky’s part.

In the third case, which allegedly occurred some 14 years ago, the statute of limitations had passed. As such police had recommended that prosecutors close the case.

A statement on behalf of Uchovsky at the time of the complaints said he would cooperate fully with the investigation and that the “full picture will prove that no offense was committed and the boundary into criminality was not crossed.”

After the initial Kan exposé was broadcast, Uchovsky, a popular TV personality, apologized and said he would be stepping down as president of IGY – Israel Gay Youth, a leading nonprofit organization serving LGBTQ youth in Israel.

Writing on Facebook in the wake of the report, Uchovsky did not deny sexual interactions with the two accusers, but said that he did not intend to hurt anyone. Days later, Kan said a third man had contacted the station to allege sexual misconduct.

FILE — Gal Uchovsky at the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court, Aug 17, 2011 (Yossi Zeliger/FLASH90)

The first of the anonymous members of the LGBTQ community claimed that Uchovsky assaulted him a year and a half ago, during a prearranged sexual encounter between them, during which the IGY chairman violated the boundaries the two had agreed upon previously.

The complainant told Kan that he clearly stated his refusal to comply with the sexual advances, but that Uchovsky did not stop.

A second complainant told the broadcaster that, several years ago, during a work meeting with Uchovsky, the activist suddenly “leaped at me and started kissing me.”

“I tried to shove him away. He forced himself on me despite my objection, until he finished,” the second complainant recalled.

The third man was a holistic practitioner who claimed Uchovsky assaulted him during a treatment session 14 years ago when the latter tried to touch him sexually against his will.

“I told him, ‘Stop, enough,’” said the man, who also claimed Uchovsky slapped him.

He explained he felt compelled to come forward after seeing the Kan report. The man’s claims have been backed up with a lie detector test and a friend whom he confided in at the time of the alleged assault, the broadcaster said.

All of the alleged victims spoke to Kan on condition of anonymity.

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