Court: Evidence Sufficient to Convict 'Starvation Mom' of Abuse

Judge says ultra-Orthodox woman should not have contact with her kids, due to strong evidence against her.

The Jerusalem District Court on Wednesday ruled that there was enough evidence against an ultra-Orthodox woman suspected of starving her toddler son to convict her of other abuse charges.

"There is no doubt in my mind that the evidence collected against her will be sufficient to convict her of the alleged crimes," said Judge Moshe Ravid after evaluating the evidence.

The court had convened to determine whether the woman should be returned to police custody from house arrest for the duration of the legal proceedings.

Ravid ruled that the suspect had starved the child "against orders of the medical staff" present during her son's hospitalization and that she |physically and mentally abused" the child "in a skilled and calculated manner."

Had the physician in charge of the child's case not intervened, said Ravid, the boy might not have survived the ordeal.

Ravid cited substantial evidence to prove that the woman would present a danger to her other children as well, having refused to cooperate with legal and medical authorities and bring them in for review by welfare services.

As such, ruled the judge, the woman should be denied all contact with her children.

The woman was arrested in July after police secretly videotaped her removing a feeding tube from her 3-year-old son's body, after he was hospitalized with severely low weight and malnutrition. At the time, the boy weighed only 7 kilos, the average size of an infant.

Her arrest sparked riots among the ultra-Orthodox community in Jerusalem. Deputy Health Minister Ya'akov Litzman, also a religious Jew, posted bail for the woman after her initial arrest in an effort to silence the riots.

The court announced that it would indict the woman two weeks ago on charges of starving the child, abuse and other serious offenses.

The woman is currently under house arrest at the home of a local rabbi. The court will reconvene at the end of the month to determine the conditions of her custody during legal proceedings.