IBA exec tried for indecent acts on minor still runs kids' radio
By Asaf Carmel, Haaretz Correspondent
A senior employee of the Israel Broadcasting Authority is currently being tried for allegedly committing indecent acts against a minor. Despite the ongoing trial, the employee - Moti Amir, 57 - is still on the job as a department head at Israel Radio.
Even though the indictment against him was filed over two years ago, the IBA's management and the attorney general have been dawdling over getting Amir suspended. Amir denies the allegations and continues to work as usual. Among other things, he is responsible for "Educational Radio," a wide-ranging project aimed at increasing the awareness and involvement of teens and young adults in the mass media.
The indecent acts of which Amir is suspected were revealed in the local Jerusalem paper, Kol Ha'ir in 2005. According to the charge sheet, Amir pestered a 15-year-old girl on several occasions, on the premises of the IBA. In one instance, Amir caressed the girl's back and face, fingered her lips and told her, "Come, I'll give you a bite." On another occasion when he met her, he said, "I don't want to eat. I just wanted to hug you.
The police claim that some of the acts attributed to Amir are documented on the IBA's security cameras.
Amir's job includes responsibility for Israel Radio's archives, the management of the radio announcers department, and the coordination of the broadcasts of the various channels. When former president Moshe Katsav and former minister Haim Ramon were suspected of sexual offenses, they were both forced to suspend themselves. Amir is not an elected official, but rather a senior public employee. Still, he has not seen fit to suspend himself, nor did the IBA's management hasten to act in this regard.
Last year Ometz Association contacted the IBA and demanded Amir's suspension. The IBA's legal department responded that only the IBA executive committee was authorized to deliberate the suspension of an employee.
"When the indictment was filed against Amir," wrote attorney Marcia Zugman of the legal department, "there was no executive committee at the IBA, so it was impossible to exercise that authority. A board was appointed only in February 2007, and since then we are handling this matter."
A Civil Service Commission spokesman confirmed on Tuesday that only the IBA's executive committee is authorized to suspend an employee.
"In December 2007 the head of discipline at the commission advised the executive committee to consider suspending Amir," added the spokesman. "Under paragraph 47 of the Civil Service Law as it applies to authority employees, the executive committee can suspend Amir only after consulting with the attorney general or his agent. On April 16, 2007, we asked the attorney general for such a consultation. Unfortunately, despite our repeated efforts, we have not yet received his opinion. When we receive the attorney general's position, the matter will be discussed by the executive committee."
A Justice Ministry source admitted that "due to a failure at our office, the material from the investigation on which the indictment is based reached the relevant person in the ministry only recently. A position on the case will probably be prepared in the next few days."
Amir's legal representative, Attorney Zion Amir, said "the whole story is tainted with a very heavy suspicions of false accusation. My client has been caused tremendous anguish, and is suffering from the delay in justice. I believe he will be acquitted, and hope you will publish news of the acquittal when the time comes."
15 marzo 2008
Israele, polemiche per il programmista molestatore
Un altro scandalo di natura sessuale che coinvolge un ente radiotelevisivo pubblico. Questa volta si tratta della Israel Broadcasting Authority e del suo funzionario Moti Amir, accusato di aver molestato una quindicenne e ancora sotto procedimento giudiziario. Il fatto inquietante segnalato da Haaretz è che nel frattempo Amir non è stato sospeso dal lavoro in via cautelativa. E continua a occuparsi della programmazione di Educational Radio, destinata alla fascia di pubblico giovanile.