Police arrest 9 suspected Jerusalem cult members

Police arrested nine people Monday suspected of being members of a Jerusalem cult.

The Jerusalem Post reports

The man suspected of leading the cult and two of his helpers, who had been arrested in August on suspicion of sexual and emotional abuse of the women and children in the cult, were re-arrested along with an additional six on suspicion of intimidating witnesses and intent to commit a crime.

The man suspected of heading of the cult had rented a number of buildings in the North and had supplied the witnesses in his original trial with food and necessities, with the intention of keeping them there for the trial’s duration.

In August, 2011, the cult’s three central defendants were indicted in the Jerusalem District Court on Wednesday, in a case of what police and social workers have called the worst abuse of its kind they have seen in decades.

At the time one of the defendants — whose names have not been released — was indicted on charges including slavery, abuse of a minor, false imprisonment, sexual and severe violence.

The other defendents were charged with violent acts and sex offenses committed at the behest of the “head of the family.”

The Jerusalem Post has referred to the group as a well-known polygamous Breslav family based in Jerusalem.

It said the cult had been in existence for over 10 years, but that during the past two years reports of violence increased in frequency and severity.

When police raided cult’s main home last August, officers found stun guns, electric cables and wooden rods.

According to the newspaper one of the three men indicted, who most often carried out the abuses, was known by nicknames of “Satan” and “Evil Inclination.”

The testimony of a young woman — the main defendant’s seventh wife — about physical, sexual and emotional abuse within the cult led to an investigation resulting in the August police raid.

The woman had initially called the Israel Center for Cult Victims.

Since names have not yet been released in this case, stories about the groups are filed under ‘Breslov cult.’
Breslov (aka Bratslav or Braslav) is a branch of Hasidic Judaism.
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Religion News Blog posted this on Monday February 6, 2012.
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