Int'l warrant issued for Elior Chen

Self-professed rabbi, followers accused of involvement in abuse of two children, aged 3 and 4.

elior chen 224.88 (photo credit: Channel 10 / Israel Police)
elior chen 224.88
(photo credit: Channel 10 / Israel Police)
Jerusalem police on Friday issued an international arrest warrant against an extremist rabbi who fled to Canada and is considered to be the ringleader and "spiritual mentor" in one of the worst child abuse cases in Israeli history, police said. The fugitive ringleader of the group, Rabbi Elior Chen, 29, and his followers are suspected of severely abusing two children, aged 3 and 4, who were savagely and systematically beaten with hammers, knives and other instruments for months until the former lost consciousness in March. The 3-year-old suffered permanent brain damage as a result of the systematic and brutal abuse he suffered at the hands of his mother and her companions, according to an indictment filed against his mother and her companion last Sunday in a Jerusalem court. He is expected to remain in a vegetative state for the rest of his life. The men, who allegedly carried out the abuse with the mother, received instruction from Chen on how to "fix" the children's behavior, and "cleanse" them of their Satanic possession, the indictment says. The charge sheet in the case recounts that the mother allegedly forced her children to eat feces, locked them in a suitcase for three days - letting them out only for brief periods of time - repeatedly beat, whipped, and shook them, burned their hands with a lighter and a heater, and gave them freezing showers. The abusive mother and 'educators' are also suspected of pouring salt on the burn wounds of the child, stuffing his mouth with a skullcap and sealing his mouth with masking tape, and giving the children alcoholic drinks until they vomited. Chen, who served as a spiritual mentor to the abusive mother and who provided explicit written instruction how to abuse the children, fled to Canada to avoid arrest last month after the case came to light, police said. Chen's father Yaacov has publicly urged his son to return to Israel and face trial, insisting that he is innocent. Meanwhile, two more suspects in the case are expected to be indicted in a Jerusalem court on Sunday. In a separate child abuse case, the Supreme Court on Friday ruled that a Beit Shemesh woman charged with at least 25 counts of aggravated assault on six of her 12 children will remain in custody, overturning a lower court ruling which would have seen the woman placed under house arrest.