Israel Drops Rape Charges as President Agrees to Quit

By ISABEL KERSHNER / New York Times

JERUSALEM, June 28 — The Israeli government has dropped rape charges against President Moshe Katsav in exchange for his agreement to step down and to plead guilty to lesser charges, the attorney general, Menachem Mazuz, announced Thursday.

Mr. Katsav, 61, will receive a suspended sentence and will pay a total of $11,695 in compensation to two of the women who accused him, Mr. Mazuz said. One of them had worked for Mr. Katsav when he was tourism minister in the late 1990s; the other worked in his office in 2003 and 2004. Mr. Katsav will plead guilty to committing indecent acts without consent, sexual harassment of the two women and harassing a witness.

He is expected to resign on Friday. His seven-year term as president, a largely ceremonial post, was to end in July. Shimon Peres is expected to take office as president on July 15.
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