Sexual relations between cult leaders and followers to be considered assault

March 30, 2016 14:35


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The Knesset passed a law Wednesday that would have sexual relations between a religious leader and a follower be considered assault, even if they were consensual.

"In recent years," the law's explanatory portion states, "there have been men and women who suffered from violence in cults let by people who present themselves as religious leaders of people with special spiritual powers. Sometimes these people take advantage of their authority to sexually harm women and men who become part of these cults.

The law, proposed by MK Michal Rosin (Meretz), would consider the relationship between a guru or cult leader and a follower, during or soon after the leader provided guidance, to be one of authority over the follower.

Rosin said she was glad to change the law and raise awareness about the issue.

"We will continue fighting against sexual violence," she vowed. "We believe in the justice of our way and are acting to stop this plague."

The law passed in a third (final) reading with 28 in favor and none opposed.

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