A garden belonging to one of the alleged pedophiles 311.
(photo credit: Melanie Lidman)
Police arrested five men in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Nahlaot over the past
six weeks for sexually abusing dozens of minors in the neighborhood starting as
early as 2006, though the abuse got significantly worse in the past two
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The men, all in their 40s and 50s, knew each other through the
neighborhood but were not acting in an organized fashion to abuse the
One of the men arrested recently was also arrested in February
for similar sexual abuse of minors. Police requested he be imprisoned, but he
was released to house arrest with an electronic bracelet to track his
Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben Ruby said that the man
continued abusing children while on house arrest.
The two men already
served with indictments both used candy to lure children from the neighborhood
into their apartments, where they would sexually abuse and sodomize them. One
suspect told the children that if he told anyone what had happened, the suspect
would burn down his house and kill him. In a limited number of incidents, more
than one of the suspects was involved in an incident of abuse.
the men are from the haredi portion of the neighborhood. Ben Ruby said that due
to the closed nature of the community, the police often have a difficult time
identifying and arresting suspects.
“We hope that if there are [sexual
assaults] that people will file complaints, but we also use intelligence to try
to figure out what is going on,” he said on Wednesday.
The fifth man is a
well-known pillar of the community who had built a whimsical community garden in
the courtyard, said neighbors.
After hearing of the arrests, the
neighbors destroyed the garden in anger.
On Wednesday, all that was left
was a pile of stones and a homemade sign that said in English “No [suspect
name], no scared children.”
“When I heard about what had happened and
told my wife, I couldn’t fall asleep all night,” said Yitzhak, who was sitting
in the courtyard on Wednesday and studies at a nearby Kollel.
“I knew one
of the victims, he had serious behavioral problems, he was always banging his
head against the wall, slamming it so hard that he was breaking the walls of his
family’s apartment,” he said. “To think that someone is responsible for this...
it just disgusts me.”