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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