Three Jerusalem residents were arrested early on Sunday in connection with sex crimes against children from ultra-Orthodox families. Police detained the Nahlaot neighborhood residents as part of an ongoing investigation into a ring that allegedly lured dozens of children from ultra-Orthodox families in the neighborhood and raped them or subjected them to other indecent acts.
In some of the incidents, which were said to have taken place over the past several years, the perpetrators allegedly filmed the acts and then played them back to their victims. All of the alleged victims were between the ages of 3 and 12.
Police began receiving numerous complaints about the sexual abuse last July, from concerned parents in the neighborhood, and immediately appointed a special team of investigators. A short time later, six male suspects from the neighborhood were arrested. Three of them were indicted and the other three were released subject to certain restrictions. But the investigation against them had continued, police said.
Police have questioned almost 70 children and believe that nearly 50 of them were victimized by the group. The matter involved one of the most serious cases of pedophilia the police had every encountered, police sources said.
The three suspects arrested on Sunday - a man of 60, a man of 50 and a 20-year-old soldier - deny the allegations against them. Their identities have been held back due to a gag order.
"They're not true," shouted one of the suspects in the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court on Sunday in reference to the allegations. "It's all part of the accusations of a criminal group that is falsely accusing everyone."
The three men were remanded in custody for a further five days.