Prosecutor: Indict Rabbi Elon for Sexual Assault

Elon, who was informed of the decision yesterday, is a leading figure in the religious Zionist community.

The Jerusalem prosecutor's office is recommending that Rabbi Mordechai Elon be tried on allegations that he engaged in sexual offenses involving two minors between 2003 and 2006. However, Elon will have a chance to defend himself at a hearing where he will be shown the evidence against him for the first time.

Elon, who was informed of the decision yesterday, is a leading figure in the religious Zionist community.

Elon's lawyer, Yair Golan, said his client believes he is innocent and is "projecting calm."

Golan said the prosecutor's announcement of a hearing on the matter did not come as a surprise.

"For the first time," the lawyer said, "we will have an opportunity to examine the evidence and the details of the testimony."

He said his client had cooperated fully in the investigation and had made it clear that he had not broken the law. Golan expressed the belief that following the hearing in the matter, the prosecution would decide not to file an indictment against Elon.

Last summer, the police recommended indicting Elon based on what they said was sufficient evidence to charge him with indecent assault by force and indecent assault on a minor. During the course of the investigation, a witness was identified who agreed to testify in detail that Elon had committed indecent assault by force on him between 2005 and 2006 while the alleged victim was a minor.

After additional evidence was gathered that corroborated the witness' account, Elon was questioned under caution. During the course of the investigation another individual came forward who told police that when he was a minor, he too was a victim of indecent assault by Elon. The rabbi was then summoned for additional questioning and released.

Initial allegations of Elon's sexual offenses caused turmoil in the leadership of the religious Zionist community. The allegations were disclosed by Takana, a religious group that includes religious Zionist rabbis and educators that seeks to combat sexual exploitation in the religious community.