Berland convicted in plea bargain of indecent assault, to serve 18 months in prison

In 2013, Berland fled Israel after claims of sexual abuse were made against him by several women.

November 17, 2016 20:06
1 minute read.
Rabbi Eliezer Berland

Rabbi Eliezer Berland. (photo credit: TWITTER)

Rabbi Eliezer Berland will serve 18 months in prison for a conviction by the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court after pleading guilty in a plea bargain to two counts of indecent assault against two women.

Berland, 79, also was convicted on one count of assault against a member of the community who exposed the rabbi’s deeds.

In accordance with the plea bargain with the State Attorney’s Office in which he pled guilty, Berland also must pay compensation to his victims.

According to the State Attorney Office’s Jerusalem District office, Berland admitted that he exploited his position as head of the Shuvu Banim community of Breslov hassidim to carry out sexual acts with women who turned to him for advice, spiritual guidance and blessings.

The rabbi admitted that, on one occasion, he grabbed one woman’s breasts and kissed her on her neck while drawing himself close to her. On another occasion, Berland admitted that he embraced a different woman while groping her breasts and kissing her using his tongue.

When the abuse was exposed by one of the men in his community, Berland instructed two of his devotees to physically assault him.

Berland fled Israel in 2013 after claims of sexual abuse were made against him by several women, traveling across three continents over a period of three years in an attempt to evade law enforcement authorities and extradition to Israel, including stops in Florida, Switzerland, Morocco, the Netherlands and Zimbabwe, all the while accompanied by a band of devoted followers.

He was arrested in South Africa earlier this year and extradited to Israel in July.

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