The suspected rapist indicted for the abduction and rape of a seven-year-old Israeli girl in a haredi city used a local family’s home he was renovating to carry out the sexual assault.
On Sunday, 46-year-old Mahmoud Nazmi Abed Alhamid Katusa was indicted at the IDF’s Ofer prison outside of Jerusalem on charges of aggravated rape.
Katusa is a resident of the Palestinian Authority-controlled town of Deir Qaddis, which is located next to the Israeli city of Modiin Illit.
Katusa, who is suspected of raping a seven-year-old girl after abducting her from her school, had been employed at an elementary school in a haredi city in the Modi’in area. Katusa worked in the school as a janitor and maintenance man, while also moonlighting as a construction worker.
According to the indictment filed against him, Katusa was arrested on May 1st, following a lengthy police investigation into accusations by a seven-year-old student.
Investigators say Katusa met the girl at the school, and befriended her, talking with her and giving her candies.
Once he had gained her confidence, Katusa asked the girl to leave school with him and go to a nearby house. When the girl objected, Katusa carried her off, throwing her on the ground to pacify her.
Katusa took the girl to a home near the school, where several other Arab workers were present.
“I’m going to do something fun for you,” Katusa told the girl.
Aided by at least two other Arab workers present in the home at the time, Katusa removed the girl’s clothes, then raped her. The other Arab workers held the girl’s arms and legs, and covered her eyes, while she cried and asked to go home.
Haim Bleicher, the attorney representing the girl’s family, later said that the two accomplices mocked the girl during the rape, saying she “deserved it”.
Two days later, when the girl returned to her school, she told her teacher what had happened, and identified Katusa as the perpetrator. “That’s him,” she said, pointing him out to her teacher.
On May 1st, police arrested Katusa for the rape, while the investigation into the incident continued.
While investigators were able to gain important information from the victim, they were unable to ascertain where the rape had taken place.
Days after Katusa’s arrest, a resident of the city in question appeared at the local police station, inquiring as to why Katusa had been taken into custody.
When officers asked why the local man was interested in Katusa’s arrest, the man responded by saying that Katusa, who also works in construction, had been working on renovating his home.
Police later found that the home being renovated matched the victim’s description of the location where the rape took place.
While Katusa is in custody and under indictment, his accomplices remain at large and are likely still employed in the town where the rape occurred, an attorney involved in the case told Kikar Hashabbat.
“To my understanding, these people [the suspected accomplices] are in regular contact, one way or another, with residents of the same city. That’s why it is so important that they be caught.”
The family, meanwhile, is struggling to help their daughter cope with the traumatic attack, while keeping her identity secret.
Accord to a source close to the family who spoke with Yediot Ahronot, the girl’s parents have been “physically” affected by the ordeal.
“It is important to them that no one know about the incident, except for the court. They are very worried ever since the incident went public. It has really affected them physically. They are consulting with their rabbi and trying to help their daughter and rehabilitate her.”
“The parents are in a terrible situation, they really cannot deal with this incident. The mother is on the verge of total collapse.”