JERUSALEM (JTA) – An Israeli general who was indicted in the rape and sexual assault of two female subordinates has been offered a plea bargain.
Under the reported deal, Brig.-Gen. Ofek Buchris would be convicted of prohibited sexual relations by consent instead of three counts of rape. He would be demoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel and would receive a suspended sentence rather than jail time, according to reports.
Buchris, 47, resigned in July from the Israel Defense Forces days after he was indicted by the military advocate general for 16 sexual offences against a female soldier and a female officer allegedly committed between 2010 and 2012, when they served under his command.
The deal reportedly will be presented to the two victims on Wednesday and must be approved by the judge in the Tel Aviv military court where Buchris is standing trial.
Buchris has denied the allegations and reportedly has passed two privately funded polygraph tests. He is charged with rape, sodomy, indecent acts and conduct unbecoming of an officer.
“I am innocent and I will fight for my good name and for my innocence,” he said upon his resignation in a statement, which noted his 28 years in the service “in which I loyally served my people and my home.”
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.