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Rabbi Motti Elon gets community service for sexual assault conviction

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Rabbi Mordechai “Motti” Elon, an Israeli Modern Orthodox leader, was sentenced to six months of community service for his conviction on two charges of sexually assaulting a minor.

Elon, 55, was sentenced Wednesday in Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court for incidents that took place in 2003 and 2005. The student had come to Elon, the former rosh yeshiva of Yeshivat HaKotel in Jerusalem, for advice.

He also was sentenced to 15 months probation and must pay nearly $3,000 in compensation to the victim.

“I welcome my sentencing of community service – I’ve been doing such work for 40 years and will be happy to continue till I’m 120 years old,” Elon said following the sentence, adding that the conviction is false.

Accusations of sexual misconduct against Elon were first investigated by a Modern Orthodox forum, Takana, which deals with complaints of sexual harassment in the religious school system. In 2006, the forum ordered that Elon no longer have contact with students. Shortly after, Elon left his teaching positions and moved from Jerusalem to Migdal, a moshav in the North, citing health reasons.

The public investigation against Elon began in February 2010 after Takana went to police with the sexual harassment complaints, saying Elon had violated the restrictions on contact with students that had been imposed on him. Elon denied the charges and rejected a plea bargain under which he would have pleaded guilty but not served jail time.

Elon is the founder of the MiBereshit educational program, which is distributed throughout the world in Hebrew and English. He is the son of former Israeli Supreme Court Justice Menachem Elon and the brother of former Knesset member Benny Elon.

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