Police: Indict Rabbi Moti Elon for Sexual Abuse

Police suspect Elon, one of the most prominent rabbis in the religious Zionist movement, of forcibly committing indecent acts on two minors.

The police yesterday announced they had collected sufficient evidence to recommend that Rabbi Mordechai (Moti) Elon be indicted on charges of sexual crimes.

Police suspect Elon, one of the most prominent rabbis in the religious Zionist movement, of forcibly committing indecent acts on two minors.

Moti Elon

In the coming days the file will be turned over to the Jerusalem district prosecutor, who will decide whether to go forward with an indictment.

In an unusual step, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and State Prosecutor Moshe Lador closely followed the case while the police were still investigating Elon.

In February, Weinstein instructed the police to examine complaints about Elon that had been made public by Takana, a forum that fights sexual abuse in the Orthdox community.

The head of the police investigations and intelligence branch, Maj. Gen. Yoav Segalovich, instructed the national fraud squad to take charge of the probe. The latter sought out the complainants, among other sources, through Takana.

The police found that the statute of limitations had run out on some of the complaints. However, a few weeks ago, one person came forward and testified that from 2005 to 2006, when he was a minor, Elon forcibly committed indecent acts against him.

This evidence, together with testimony from individuals who were in contact with the complainant during the period of the alleged acts convinced Weinstein, Segalovich and Lador to order a thorough investigation of the allegations. The investigation included testimony from various individuals who had come into contact with the complainant during the time the alleged crimes were committed and strengthened the suspicions against Elon.

Weinstein then ordered a criminal file opened against Elon. He was questioned under warning on suspicion of committing indecent acts by force and indecent acts against a minor.

During the investigation police say another person came forward and told them that when he was a minor, Elon had sexually abused him, and Elon was summoned again for questioning.

The Jerusalem district prosecutor's office is expected to decide within just a few months whether to indict Elon, since the state prosecutor's office has been overseeing the case since its early phases.

Suspicions against Elon came to the attention of Takana four years ago. The forum demanded that Elon cease his educational activities, and placed various restrictions on him. With no explanation to his students and followers, Elon, who was popular with students, left his post as head of Yeshivat Hakotel in Jerusalem, and moved with his family to Migdal on the Kinneret.

In 2006, Takana informed then attorney general Menachem Mazuz of the complaints against Elon. Mazuz conveyed the information to the police, but decided not to order an investigation against Elon.

Takana said they decided to go public with the allegations because Elon "did not follow the restrictions imposed on him."

Elon's attorney, Yair Golan, told Haaretz yesterday that he is certain that a close investigation will reveal that Elon committed no crimes. "We hope in the end that no indictment will be issued against Rabbi Elon. The rabbi cooperated with the investigation, answered all questions he was asked, and denied that he committed any crime. He will continue to fight for the truth and for his good name."

Yair Ettinger contributed to this report.