Cult leader gets 26 years in prison for horrific abuses of his 6 wives
The man, whose name is under court gag order, is convicted on 18 counts involving rape, sexual abuse, humiliation, electrocution, imprisonment and starvation of his six wives and 17 children • Judges: He grotesquely exploited principles of loyalty.
Three Jerusalem District Court Judges on Thursday sentenced a cult leader with six wives and dozens of children to 26 years in prison on 18 counts of sexual offenses, including rape, sodomy, indecent sexual acts, violence, imprisonment in slave-like conditions and abuse of women and children. The court also ordered the man, identified only as D., to provide his victims with compensation of 100,000 shekels each.
The judges also sentenced D.’s assistant to six years in prison, after he was convicted on three charges involving indecent acts and rape, because he participated in the acts of punishing the victims. However, the judges said the assistant never made his own decisions and essentially stood at the beck and call of D. and his fanatical whims.
D., 58, whose name is subject to a court-issued gag-order, is a member of the Breslov ultra-Orthodox sect and saw himself as the successor to one of the sect’s leaders. He had six wives and 17 children and is the biological father of some of them. D. lived with all of them at the same time, in secluded apartments in Jerusalem, Tiberias and Tel Aviv.
The court found that D. completely controlled the lives of his wives and children, whom he sent to beg for money and to disseminate his religious doctrine from morning to night, all while imposing a brutal regime of punishments based on his unpredictable whims. According to the conviction, he erased their personalities and warped their minds. Throughout the years his wives tried, according to his demands, to find more “candidates” to join the “family,” often as a way to ease a punishment against one of them.
D. presided over a humiliating system of punishment that he referred to as “judgment,” during which he would punish his wives and children for “impermissible thoughts” by raping them or perpetrating other sexual offenses against them, electrocuting them with a stun gun, whipping them with an electric cable, imprisoning them nude in utility closets, forcibly separating the women from their children and starving them. He ordered one of his wives to dress like a prostitute and stand in the street next to prostitutes. He also engaged in group sex, in which one of his step-daughters took part.
In their final ruling, the judges emphasized that “the accused manipulatively and grotesquely exploited the principles of loyalty and his lofty stature in the household, the trust put in him and the fear he aroused, in order to substantiate his influence and control over the family members. The accused caused his wives to believe that their behavior and thoughts were hurtful not only to him but also to the salvation of Israel, and in accordance with this he caused them to have deep feelings of guilt and self-loathing which they could only atone for by confessing before him and through suitable punishment which he himself determined and oversaw.”
Five of the six wives, including those who were victims of his crimes, remain faithful to him, and even venerate him, to which they testified during the sentencing hearings. When the ruling was read out in court, the five wives confronted the sixth wife, who had testified against him.
Fonte: ISRAEL HAYOM
Sadistic cult leader sentenced to 26 years
Man abused and enslaved six women and dozens of children, some of whom continue to support him
A man who headed a religious cult that physically, mentally, and sexually abused a group of women and their children was sentenced to 26 years behind bars by the Jerusalem District Court on Thursday.
The man, 58, who has remained unnamed in the media, was also ordered to pay a total of NIS 100,000 (some $28,000) to his victims. A second man, who was an accomplice in the crimes, was sentenced to six years in prison. The separate trial of a third man involved in the case is still underway.
Prosecuting lawyer Sagi Ofer had asked for a sentence of 65 years for the cult leader and 20 years for his deputy.
“They have been given a sentence that isn’t trivial, but we believed that in cases like this it should be heavier,” Ofer said. “A punishment is supposed to convey a message to victims and minors who had the courage to complain.”
Despite the conviction, some of the cult’s women continue to support their leader, a resident of Jerusalem who associated himself with the Breslov Hassidic movement. They claim that witnesses were threatened into giving testimony.
The women called the proceedings “a lie,” adding that “we love this man and it was good to be with him.”
Last month the man and his assistant were found guilty of sex offenses, violence, confinement in conditions of slavery, and abuse of women and minors, including some of who are his own children. The court found that the man exploited his family’s religious faith, and their belief in him as a spiritual leader, in order to perpetrate the crimes against them.
A key witness in the case was a stepchild of the cult leader. The witness’s mother remains dedicated to the cult and did not speak to her son at the trial, Ynet reported.
The case shocked the country when it came to light in August 2011 after one of the women broke free and alerted authorities to the conditions that the man imposed on his followers. According to the court verdict, the group was composed of the man, six women, and 17 children. The convicted man convinced women to join with him in what initially appeared to be a pleasant life. However, once under his control, the women faced continued physical and sexual abuse, as did their children.
Initially, nine members of the family were arrested, including three men and six women, but only the three men were indicted. The children were placed with foster families.
The case not only made headlines for the severity of the charges, but also for a court-mandated gag order on the case meant to shield the victims, women and young children, from being identified. Initially, only a heavily edited version of the original indictment was released to the public.
Police used the information in personal journals kept by the women and children to uncover details about the abuses and build their case.
The women and children were subject to daily “confessions” and “judgments” and were punished by means of imprisonment, starvation, physical and mental abuse, humiliation, sexual abuse, and severe violence, according to the indictment. Police found numerous torture devices when they searched the house.
Fonte: THE TIMES OF ISRAEL