Court extends remand of suspect in rape of 13-year-old at state-run COVID hotel

Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday extended the remand by four days of a man suspected of raping a 13-year-old girl last week as the two of them were staying in a special quarantine hotel operated by the state’s welfare system.

During the hearing, which Yarin Sherf, 21, attended via video link due to the pandemic, the girl’s mother told the judge her daughter’s life “has been completely wiped out.”

“This is a despicable act,” she said. “With my legs trembling and a broken heart I ask to punish the cruel criminal. He has finished off the girl’s life with a cruel act.”

“The criminal should not see the light of day, a beastly man who has no control of his urges,” she said and lamented that her daughter will “forever be scarred” by what happened.

A sign outside the District Court in Tel Aviv saying Yarin Sherf is suspect in the alleged rape of 13-year-old girl, March 1, 2021 (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Police had asked that Sherf be held for another 10 days as the investigation continues, citing his “very high danger” to the public.

In extending his arrest, the court found that there is a reasonable suspicion that Sherf committed the alleged crimes.

Sherf admits that he had sex with the girl but claims it was consensual and that she had told him she was 16.

Police say Sherf raped the girl twice in her room at the hotel on two separate occasions during the same day and that he beat and choked his victim.

Since Sherf’s arrest evidence has mounted in support of the victim’s version of events, police told the court.

After the hearing, Sherf’s attorney Nir David told reporters that the investigation is still ongoing and will determine the question of consent.

Additionally, Sherf’s TikTok account has been suspended due to “repeated violations of our community rules which included hurtful content against other users and women,” the company said in a statement.

The social media giant’s Israeli division told Channel 12 news that the app has “zero tolerance against the distribution of harmful content on the platform.”

Police arrested Sherf on Wednesday night after receiving a report of sexual assault at the facility, located in the city of Jaffa, which is used to quarantine confirmed COVID-19 patients from state welfare dormitories for young people unable to live at home.

The hotel has comprehensive security cameras installed, according to Hebrew media reports. Male and female guests are kept on separate floors and are forbidden from straying between the two.

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