Israel Police raided a private mental hospital in Petah Tikva on Wednesday and detained some 70 employees and managers suspected of involvement in abusing patients, perpetration of sex offenses, and failure to report the incidents.
At the end of a year-long undercover investigation, about 150 officers descended on the Neve Ya'akov institutions, arresting the owners, managers and therapeutic staff.
Security camera footage and computers were seized during the raid, a culmination of the year-long Operation 'Don't Abandon Me'. Several workers were expected to be bound over into custody for additional periods.
The investigation began after officials of the Health and Social Affairs ministries told police that Neve Ya'akov patients had been hospitalized with severe injuries that were apparently due to violence. Subsequently, workers who had resigned or dismissed by Neve Ya'akov told investigators of sex crimes perpetrated on helpless patients, of which management was aware.
The probe started slowly, according to Chief Superintendent Sigal Bar Tzvi, the head of the Israel Police's Petah Tikva station, who headed the operatio n. “At first there were only a few complaints, but then we concluded that this was only the tip of the iceberg and it was likely that something bigger and more significant was going on inside the institution. It was important for us, from a moral perspective as well, to deal with this."
Police said that legal restrictions prevented them from infiltrating the institution with an undercover agent.
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