Elior Chen 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Cult leader Elior Chen, who was convicted in November of brutally beating three
children of one of his “disciples,” was sentenced to 24 years in prison on
Monday by the Jerusalem District Court.
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He will also be required to pay
NIS 200,000 to the three children who were most savagely beaten as well as NIS
50,000 to the family’s other five children.
The abuse took place between
late 2007 and early 2008, after Chen convinced the ex-wife of a followers to
move into his Betar Illit home.
Chen, 27, “married” the woman, though he
was already married with children.
He encouraged his followers, David
Kugman, Avraham Maskalchi and Shimon Gabi, all in their early 20s, to provide
“corrections” and “education” for the children, a vicious regimen of abuse that
Chen, a self-proclaimed rabbi, demonstrated and oversaw.
The abuse was
performed systematically for several months and one boy, who was four at the
time, remains in a coma to this day. The abuse was concentrated on three of the
woman’s eight children, identified as “Aleph,” “Nun” and “Shin.”
the time of the abuse, the children were ages three, four and 13.
abuse included beatings with rods, hammers and sharp objects, forcing the
children to eat feces, stuffing them into suitcases, handcuffing them to a chair
and beating them, forcing them to stand outside in the winter in just a tank top
while Chen’s disciples poured cold water over them, depriving them of sleep and
food, and using space heaters and lighters to inflict severe burns.
accused oversaw a regime of terror and threats over the children, which included
brutal violence, humiliation, and degradation,” Judge Yoram Noam wrote in his
29-page sentencing decision. “We are talking about cruel attacks and abuse that
are appalling and shocking, that the accused enacted against the children
together with his disciples, over a number of months.”
Ariel Attias, has maintained his client’s innocence and said previously that
that he would appeal to the Supreme Court. He has 45 days to do
Prosecutors were expecting a long sentence for Chen, after Jerusalem
District Court Judge Nava Ben-Or in November sentenced four of Chen’s disciples
to up to 20 years in prison for their sadistic brutalization of the
Ben-Or sentenced Kugman to 20 years in jail and a oneyear
suspended sentence and ordered him to pay NIS 200,000 in compensation to the
children. Maskalchi and Gabai were each sentenced to 17 years in jail, a
one-year suspended sentence and ordered to pay NIS 100,000 in
Roi Tzoref, who participated in the abuse for only part of
the time during which Chen was in control of the children, was sentenced to 30
months in jail, six months suspended and ordered to pay NIS 10,000 in
The mother of the children, identified as “Mem,” has
already been sentenced to five years in jail for her role in the affair. She
became a state’s witness and testified against her former “teacher.”
torture of the two youngest children at Chen’s home was discovered on March 11,
2008, after they ended up in hospital within hours of each other. Nun suffered
severe burns and Aleph was brought in in a coma and has remained in that
condition ever since.
The same day the children went to the hospital,
Chen sent all the other children to their grandmother’s house and disappeared.
Five days later, he flew to Brazil, whence he was extradited on October 28,
2009.Dan Izenberg contributed to this report.