10 Nov 2010

Sect leader extradited to Israel from Brazil faces 8 charges related to torture of follower's children

Jewish Telegraphic Agency - November 9, 2009

Sect leader indicted for child abuse

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- The spiritual leader of a religious sect who was extradited to Israel from Brazil was indicted for child abuse.

Elior Chen, 29, was charged Monday in Jerusalem District Court with eight accounts of abuse -- each charge is related to a different child from the same family. He was not charged with attempted murder, despite statements by police.

The alleged abuse occurred in the West Bank settlement of Beitar Illit in February and March 2008.

Chen allegedly urged his followers to abuse their children, including beatings, forcing them to eat feces and pouring household cleaners into open wounds to "correct their corrupt souls."

His alleged abuse of one woman's children led to two of them, then aged 4 and 5, being hospitalized in March 2008 in critical condition and another, then 3, remaining in a persistent vegetative state. Their mother, who accepted a plea bargain in exchange for her testimony, faces five years in prison.

Chen was arrested in June 2008 in Sao Paulo. He fought extradition in a number of Brazilian courts, including the Supreme Court. His appeal to the high court was rejected in May.

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The Jerusalem Post - November 9, 2009

Elior Chen's brother: 'Cult-shmult, it's one big bluff'

Ya'akov Chen, the brother of Elior Chen, who was charged with eight counts of abusing and assaulting minors, came to his sibling's defense hours after the indictment was served on Monday, dismissing the accusations.

The self-styled rabbi allegedly influenced some of his followers to abuse their children in order to "correct their corrupt souls. His alleged crimes came to light after two brothers, an unconscious three-year-old and his four-and-a-half-year-old sibling, were rushed to the hospital on March 12, 2008 in serious condition. The younger child suffered severe brain damage and is still unconscious in a Jerusalem-area hospital.

Speaking to Army Radio just after midday on Monday, Chen said it "just cannot be" that his brother committed such offenses, and dismissed the existence of a cult.

"Cult-shmult, it's one big bluff," he said. "The whole thing has been made up."
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