US father finds toddler in arms of drunk Israeli intruder
Oren Cohen tells Arizona court he was inebriated and mistakenly entered wrong apartment, where he found ‘a midget’
Times of Israel
A father in Arizona discovered a drunk Israeli intruder holding his 2-year-old daughter in his living room in the middle of the night, the Washington Post reported Sunday.
The Israeli, identified as 34-year-old Oren Aharon Cohen, later explained that was drinking with a friend in the same gated community, went outside for a cigarette, and apparently reentered through the wrong door as it was dark and he was very drunk.
Cohen said he remembered seeing and playing with a “midget” in a dark room, whose description matched that of the 2-year old girl.
The unidentified father, from the city of Tempe, was allegedly woken at around 2.30 am on Thursday by the sounds of his daughter crying.
He got up to check on her, and in his living room found a stranger holding the child on his lap.
“I’m your friend,” the man reportedly said, tossing the toddler onto the couch.
Police reports describe a 10-minute struggle between the father and Cohen, the Post said.
According to police, the child’s mother called 911 as the father tried to stop Cohen from escaping.
Cohen did manage to flee and managed to reach the complex’s parking lot before the father caught up with him. Tempe police used a stun gun to detain Cohen because he reportedly resisted officers’ orders.
The parents later told police they were sure they had locked the doors of their apartment before going to bed, ABC15 Arizona reported.
Cohen was arrested and charged with second-degree burglary, aggravated assault and kidnapping.
According to court documents, he is an Israeli citizen who is in the United States legally with a valid passport.
Cohen’s shoes were found in the toddler’s bedroom, his coat was squeezed between her mattress and the wall, and his passport was on the floor near the foot of the bed, police said.
He used the bathroom in the apartment and drunk some orange juice from the refrigerator.
The 2-year-old was still wearing the same pajamas and diaper she had been wearing when she went to bed, the child’s father said.
Cohen asserted “with 100 percent certainty that he did not perform or engage in any sexual acts with the victim of this incident,” according to the police report.
“Once it was relayed to Oren that the victim in this incident was a 2-year-old female, he became very upset and broke down crying. Oren said he would never hurt a child and does not remember the details of this incident because he was ‘black out drunk.’”
Cohen is being held at a Maricopa County jail on $250,000 bail. He told police that he wanted to return to Israel, court documents show.
In a recorded video of his first court appearance Friday, Cohen is told he has the right to remain silent, because anything he says might be used against him.
“Yes, but I didn’t do anything so that’s why I want to say something,” he says.
“I went to visit a friend. Her name is Carolina. She lives in this complex. We were drinking a lot over there in her house. We went outside — I went outside [to] smoke a cigarette. I guess I got blacked out. I went to the wrong door and that’s why you guys charge me [with] burglary? I went to the wrong apartment.
“I didn’t realize what was happening it was dark. And I guess that’s when I saw this midget. It looked like a midget and I thought it’s [a] midget.”
In response to allusions that he may have touched the girl inappropriately, Cohen said, “I would never do anything like that. My dad is a sex offender. I would never do anything even close to that.”
As he was being lead into jail, Cohen told an ABC15-Arizona that he was sorry for what happened.
Cohen, who will be represented by a court-appointed lawyer, will next appear in court on Thursday and a preliminary hearing is set for December 27.
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