“It’s hard to assume the defendant, a family man and respected doctor in his community, would take such a great risk and molest a 13-year-old girl sexually while having a conversation of a sexual nature with her in broad daylight in a bustling, public clinic.”
Doctor Accused Of Molesting 13-Year-Old Haredi Girl Acquitted Under Bizarre Circumstances
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Late in December, a 13-year-old girl haredi girl went to a medical clinic in the West Bank town of Tel Zion (Kochav Ya'acov) complaining of an ear ache where she was seen by Dr. Alexander Rotnemer, Ha’aretz reported.
Rotnemer checked her ears and then allegedly told her to lie down on her back, put his hand under her skirt, tights and underpants, and fondled her.
“Does this tickle? Does it hurt? Are you having fun?” he allegedly asked.
Embarrassed and confused, the girl replied, “[I’m] having fun.”
“You come to the clinic to have fun, too,” the Rotnemer allegedly responded. And then he fondled her for several more minutes.
“If you come with your mother, I won’t be able to do this to you, she’ll go crazy. Don’t tell her I did this, don’t tell anyone. Nobody needs to know about it. If you want more, tell your mother you’re sick and come. It’s up to you, no obligation,” Rotnemer allegedly said.
When the girl got home she called her mother, sobbing, and begged her to come home. When her mother got home it took repeated cajoling to get the girl to tell her what was wrong. When she finally told her what happened, the mother told police, who investigated.
Rotnemer told police that he touched the girl’s lower abdomen, but he denied touching her genitals for an extended time.
He was indicted and tried not long after.
At trial, Rotnemer was asked to explain the connection between the girl’s ear ache and his lower abdominal exam.
Rotnemer told the court that because it was the girl’s first visit to the clinic, he gave her a “preventive medicine” exam.
On the day molestation, Rotnemer called the complainant at home several times. He told her the medication he had prescribed for her at the clinic was unavailable and he wanted to change his prescription.
The prosecution alleged that Rotnemer’s calls to the girl after the exam corroborated the girl’s story. Rotnemer, the state claimed, was really calling to check to see whether the girl had told her mother about the molestation – the missing medication was, it claimed, only a ruse, even though the pharmacy really was out of the medicine.
Last week, the judge’s verdict was released.
“The complainant’s account of the event, her police interviews and testimony in court all left a positive and reliable impression…The complainant’s story to the police, court and her mother about what happened and the main details were consistent and almost identical. Her testimony and watching her interviews with the police’s child investigator create the impression that this is an intelligent, decent girl who testifies confidently and eloquently,” Judge Jacob Zaban, deputy president of Jerusalem’s District Court, wrote.
But Zaban did not convict Rotnemer – he acquitted him.
Because, Zaban wrote, Rotnemer’s version of events was “reliable” and his testimony at trial “left a favorable impression.”
And, Zaban wrote, “it’s hard to assume the defendant, a family man and respected doctor in his community, would take such a great risk and molest a 13-year-old girl sexually while having a conversation of a sexual nature with her in broad daylight in a bustling, public clinic.”
Doctor molestation of patients is not unusual, and many medical societies worldwide have strict protocols requiring the presence of a nurse or family member during exams to prevent molestation or the suspicion of molestation.
Rotnemer did not follow those common protocols and secluded himself with the girl – something that did not seem to trouble Judge Zaban.