JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Israeli general was convicted of prohibited sexual relations and sexual offenses as part of a plea bargain.
Brig.-Gen. Ofek Buchris, 47, was convicted on Sunday in military court in Tel Aviv.
Under the deal, Buchris was convicted of prohibited sexual relations by consent instead of three counts of rape. He will be demoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel and will receive a suspended sentence rather than jail time. The judge also sentenced Buchris to see a psychiatrist in order to determine if he poses a threat to society. His two accusers were required to approve the deal.
Buchris, 47, resigned in July from the Israel Defense Forces days after he was indicted by the military advocate general for 16 sexual offenses against a female soldier and a female officer allegedly committed between 2010 and 2012, when they served under his command.
Buchris denied all the charges against him before agreeing last month to the plea bargain. As part of the deal, he admitted in a public letter to some of the offenses, though not to rape, and said that he takes “full responsibility” for his actions.
In March, his promotion to head the Operations Division was nixed when the allegations came to light. He also was suspended from his temporary post with the army’s Command and Staff College.
Buchris reportedly was on a shortlist of potential candidates for IDF chief of staff down the line.
As commander of the Golani Brigade from 2010 to 2012, Buchris is suspected of having raped and sexually abused one of the soldiers; a second soldier came forward several days after the first accusations were made.
As a battalion commander, Buchris was critically injured during Operation Defensive Shield in 2002 and was awarded a citation for his bravery.
This story "Israeli General Admits Illicit Sex in Plea Bargain" was written by Marcy Oster.