Self-styled rabbi and former international fugitive Elior Chen did unspeakable things to young Israeli children he suspected of being possessed by demons.
He wasn’t the only one to suffer sadism-inducing delusions; about a half dozen of his devout followers did too. Together, they abused and tortured eight children who they thought were under Satanic spells.
The abuse was uncovered in 2009, when a child previously under Chen’s care lost consciousness and had to be taken to the hospital. Once the authorities caught on to the abuse, Chen fled to Brazil, which extradited him back to Israel.
In February 2011, an Israeli court sentenced Chen to 24 years in prison, but he’s back in court now, insisting he didn’t get a fair trial because his lawyer allegedly had a conflict of interest. Yesterday, the child torturer argued his appeal before the Israeli Supreme Court.
If he does receive a new trial, let’s hope the judge gives him more than 24 years. Consider, courtesy of the Jerusalem Post, precisely what this fine “spiritual mentor” of a Haredi-like Jewish cult did:
Chen and his followers were convicted of abusing young children with hammers, knives and other implements over a period of several months. One child suffered permanent brain damage as a result of the abuse to which he was subjected by his mother and her companions, all under Chen’s orders. He is expected to remain in a vegetative state for the rest of his life. Chen gave his followers instructions on how to “fix” the children’s behavior, and “cleanse” them of their satanic possession.
The chilling and gruesome child-abuse case included a mother who forced her children to eat feces, locked them in a suitcase for three days and letting them out for only brief periods, repeatedly beat, whipped, and shook them, burnt their hands and gave them freezing showers. The abusive mother and the “educators” also poured salt on the burn wounds of one of the children, stuffing his mouth with a skullcap and sealing it with masking tape.
Chen’s disciples had “blind admiration” for him, the court found. Whatever Chen decreed, his followers happily carried out. Their abuse of the children occurred because he commanded it, but Chen wasn’t above doing a little torture himself; the cult leader was convicted in part for having actively participated in the abuse.
Four of Chen’s accomplices were sentenced to jail terms of up to 20 years each. The mother of the eight children was sentenced in May 2010. She got five years in prison after pleading guilty to shaking, burning, and tying up her brood.
[photo by Daniel Bar-On via Haaretz]