Police Launch Criminal Probe Into Rabbi Suspected of Molesting Boys

Investigation follows discovery of alleged sex crimes victim; charges filed by the victim not disqualified by statute of limitations.

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein has instructed the police to initiate a criminal investigation into Rabbi Moti Elon, under suspicion that he sexually molested young boys.

Weinstein made the call after at least one additional boy who claims that Elon committed sexual offences against him came forward, and whose case is still valid under the statute of limitations. Elon was questioned last month at the offices of the National Fraud Unit.

Mordechai Elon
Tomer Appelbaum

Elon's lawyer, Yair Golan, told Haaretz on Wednesday evening that a mudslinging campaign is being waged against Elon, and so it's no surprise that there will be a police investigation. Golan added that he is convinced that at the end of the investigation, it will be revealed that Elon committed no criminal act.

Back in February Weinstein instructed the police to conduct a preliminary investigation of the complaints, according to which Elon, one of the most important rabbis in the national religious movement, committed sexual offences against youths that came to him for advice.

However, from the initial investigation conducted by the police -- a prerequisite for launching a criminal investigation – it would appear that there were no complaints made by those who were minors at the time of the supposed offences and who were complaining of offences that occurred recently enough to not be disqualified by the statute of limitations.

The incident began with Takana, a forum dedicated to preventing sexual harassment by prominent religious figures, on the basis of complaints of alleged sexual relations between Rabbi Elon and minors that they had accumulated.

The Takana Forum revealed details of the complaints that they received in the past from students of Rabbi Elon. "One of the first complaints submitted to the forum was against Rabbi Mordechai Elon," the group wrote on its Web site. "One claim accused him of sexual exploitation by an individual with religious authority. These are grave acts that are not open to any other interpretation."

According to Takana, a small subcommittee was first notified of the initial complaint. Its members then confronted Elon about the allegations, to which the rabbi replied that he had completely overcome his problem. He said "these were old incidents and there would not be a repeat of new ones."

A year later, Takana received another complaint stating that Elon had maintained "a relationship of a clear sexual nature over an extended period of time." The complaint prompted the group to limit Elon's activity. When the rabbi failed to adhere to the restrictions, the members of the group elected to publicize the details of the affair.

In the last few months, police investigators conducted an investigation of the complaints that were received by the Takana forum, and met with forum members who over the years have come into contact with Elon's accusers and potential accusers. They also went over material that documents the complaints and records of the contacts that occurred between forum members and Rabbi Elon in regards to the complaints.

Until the last complainant was found, a decision had been made that it would be difficult to convince all of the complainants to press charges. And even if they could, most of the concrete complaints were not made by minors, or were no longer prosecutable because of the statute of limitations.

The management of the Takana forum stated, "The forum acts in cases that the police cannot. When a police action becomes possible, the Takana forum is confident that they will perform their jobs faithfully."