Self-proclaimed Rabbi Charged in Israel's Most Severe Child Abuse Case

A Jerusalem court charged Elior Chen with abusing and assaulting eight children.

"Rabbi" Elior Chen was charged in the Jerusalem District Court Monday for abusing and assaulting eight children, as well as ordering his followers to do the same.

This is the most severe child abuse indictment ever filed in Israel.

It lists eight separate charges against Chen. Each refers to an assault on a specific child.

The court also extended Chen's remand for another two weeks, until the deliberation of the prosecution's request that he be held until the conclusion of the trial.

According to the indictment, Chen led a group of followers between the end of 2007 and early 2008, including the two parents of the eight children. Chen allegedly took advantage of the couple's relationship problems, ordered the father to leave his home, "married" the mother - even though Chen was already married - "and assumed responsibility for educating the children."

Chen allegedly abused the children severely, including shaking them, beating them, tying them up, burning their arms and legs, feeding them feces, and depriving them of food and sleep.

Other followers allegedly assisted Chen in these acts of abuse.

In one instance, on March 11, 2008, Chen ordered one of the other defendants to go to A.'s bed, where the child was sleeping, and shake him and beat him on the head. As a result, A. was knocked unconscious and stopped breathing. He suffered irreparable brain damage, and is still hospitalized.