(JTA) — Six haredi Orthodox teachers were indicted for abusing and assaulting children at the Hasidic school in Tel Aviv where they worked.
The teachers, all men, were indicted at Tel Aviv District Court on Tuesday, the Times of Israel reported. One, Avraham Rosenfeld, 49, was also charged with sexually assaulting a child under 16, indecent acts, extortion under threats and making threats.
The six are accused of abusing 22 boys ranging in age from 3-10 years old at the Talmud Torah Machzikei Hadass School, affiliated with the Belz sect, between 2000 and 2011.
According to Ynet, the indictments say the abuse was so pervasive that students referred to the school as “Bergen-Belsen,” an allusion to the Nazi concentration camp. They referred to Rosenfeld as “Rosenazi.”
Rosenfeld, the indictment states, ordered students to come with him to a school lounge, where he sexually assaulted them. He also is accused of beating students with wooden sticks or planks, which he made the students gather during recess.
According to the legal papers, Rosenfeld also tied students to chairs or desks with ropes or cable ties, then force-fed them black pepper or soap.
He is also accused of abusing animals, including a cat that he beat and killed in front of the students.
The other five defendants are Yisrael Haim Shapira, 65, Haim Fishgrond, 69, Moshe Hirsch, 39, Menachem Alberstein, 63, and Avraham Pinchas Deytsch, 53.
Ynet reported that the six defendants, who were arrested two weeks ago following a month-long undercover investigation, said they were innocent of the charges.
Rosenfeld’s lawyer, Yehuda Fried, to that “the acts described in the indictment are exaggerated. Regarding his family, the accusations are completely made up by those seeking to get between him and his wife.”