Scared girl (illustrative)
Scared girl (illustrative)iStock

The 7-year-old haredi girl who was allegedly raped by a Palestinian Authority Arab and two of his friends told her friend about the sexual assault short after it occurred, News 12 reported Tuesday night.

A welfare worker in the city where the rape occurred reported the incident to the police, who requested the victim's friend testify in the case.

Though police made every effort to ensure the girl's friend could testify, since the victim told her friend about the attack before telling her parents, the friend's parents refused to allow their daughter to be interrogated, News 12 reported.

At the same time, News 13 reported that police suspect Mahmoud Katusa, whose indictment was canceled 9 days after it was filed, had raped another girl from the same city.

That victim did testify, but did not connect Katusa to anything.

Currently, police are investigating other options, including additional Palestinian Authority workers and a local resident.

For his part, Katusa claimed to News 12 that the polygraph test showing he lied was "performed improperly," and performed in Hebrew instead of his native Arabic. He also claimed that they did not show him photos of the girl and he has no idea who they are talking about.

"I don't know who she is or what we're talking about, I'm innocent," he claimed. "I identify with the family and I have nothing against them, but they've come to the wrong person and they need to find the one who did it."

"From the first moment they took me for interrogation, they asked if I wanted a lawyer and I said no because I didn't think it was necessary. They pressured me in the interrogation, I spent almost two months in a situation where I didn't know myself."

In a News 13 interview, Katusa claimed: "This incident has ruined my life, my family, and my heart. I still don't believe it. It's all lies - not a single word said about me is true."

Attorney Yehuda Fried, who represents the victim and her family, emphasized: "The family does not want someone innocent to sit in jail. We want the perpetrator to be the one arrested. But our starting point is that he's not innocent. The military prosecutor himself said he's still a suspect and there are proofs connecting him to the crime."