A resident of eastern Jerusalem’s Anata neighborhood was arrested on Saturday on suspicion he sexually assaulted a woman at the maternity ward of the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in the capital, police said Sunday morning.
Hazem Rasheq, 29, is also suspected of stealing a cellphone from the hospital and attempting to rob a supermarket in southern Jerusalem.
Police launched an investigation after receiving a report from the medical center’s security officer about the rape of a patient and also the theft of a cellphone.
The investigation found that Rasheq, who works at a supermarket in southern Jerusalem, entered a branch of the supermarket chain Shufersal on Friday and stole several items. When the owner noticed Rasheq stealing, however, the latter dropped the items and fled.
Later, the east Jerusalem resident entered the Shaare Zedek Medical Center’s maternity ward, where he pretended to be a doctor and asked to examine three patients. He sexually attacked one of these patients, and then fled again.
Police sought to extend his remand by 10 days, citing a criminal record. The Jerusalem Magistrates’ Court extended the remand by eight days, while determining there is a reasonable suspicion Rasheq committed the alleged offenses.
Shaarei Tzedek Medical Center is investigating how a 29-year-old Arab from the Jerusalem neighborhood of Anata broke into the hospital, stole a cell phone, and sexually assaulted a woman in the maternity ward.
“This was an indecent act, but it was not rape.” the hospital said in a statement. “Shaarei Tzedek is conducting a thorough investigation into how this imposter got past security at the entrance and will take measures to ensure that similar incidents do not happen.”
The hospital said that it made the first call to the police about the incident. “Shaarei Tzedek immediately reported the incident to the police and helped with identifying the culprit using surveillance cameras, which led to his quick capture.”
The suspect in the assault, Hazem Rasheq, allegedly attempted to rob a supermarket before being noticed and escaping. He then made his way to the hospital, where he stole a phone and a white doctor’s coat. He then went into a room in the maternity ward and assaulted a patient there before fleeing again.
Police asked that Rasheq’s remand be extended by ten days. The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court granted police an eight day extension for the suspect.
Another incident occurred several years ago in the religious Jerusalem hospital, which treats many Arab patients. In 2011 a woman was brought to the hospital after being injured in an automobile accident. When she was taken to the ultrasound unit, an Arab wearing a doctor’s white coat raped her.
Jerusalem District Court Judge Zvi Segal, sentenced the rapist in that incident to only four years in prison.
Last year, the victim launched a lawsuit against Shaarei Tzedek for allowing the rapist to enter the premises, pretend to be a doctor, and carry out the rape.