Tel Aviv cult leader indicted on multiple charges, including rape
Goel Ratzon was arrested after a year-long investigation into his abuse of 21 wives, 38 children.
Israeli polygamist and cult leader Goel Ratzon was indicted Sunday on multiple charges, including rape, sodomy, enslavement, sexual abuse within the family and several other offenses.
The indictment outlines Ratzon's lifestyle in a way "that will rattle the mind, the imagination and question human morality," the prosecutor wrote in the document filed at the Tel Aviv District Court.
"The suspect enslaved and appropriated his 21 wives for many years, in acts which contradict social norms, in a way which was common during the darkest times of human history," the prosecutor added.
Ratzon, 60, allegedly subjected his family of 21 'wives' and 38 children to strict disciplinary measures, but has claimed that the women and children lived with him on their own accord.
Some of the disciplinary measures Ratzon imposed on his family were found in a rule back that included:
1. No women shall marry nor shall any woman attack another, either verbally or physically. Fine: NIS 2,000, to be paid into the family kitty.
2. No woman shall question another about her whereabouts. Fine: NIS 100
3. No conversation is permitted in rooms other than the living room. It is forbidden to talk nonsense. Fine: NIS 200
On Thursday, Ratzon responded to the charges against him and said that "they continue to investigate me, but I am innocent."
Ratozon also claimed that he was being threatened, but said that he could not disclose his aggressor's identity.
"The police can say what they want about me, but it isn't true. If I admitted to several of the charges, its because I was threatened into doing it," Ratzon added.
Police began investigating Ratzon in June 2009 after receiving a complaint about abuse from one of the women.
He is considered by his companions to be the savior (Goel in Hebrew) of the universe, and is attributed godly and supernatural abilities. Many of the women have his name and portrait tattooed on several parts of their bodies