Friday, November 18, 2016

Rabbi Eliezer Berland convicted of sexual assault in plea deal 

The Jerusalem Magistrate's Court convicts 79-year-old Rabbi Eliezer Berland after he admitted to two counts of indecent acts and one case of assault after reaching a plea deal with the prosecution.

Under the terms of the deal Berland, who was extradited to Israel to face the charges after three years on the run, was cleared of two other charges of indecent acts. His sentencing hearing will be held next week.

Considered a cult-like leader to thousands of his followers from the Bratslav Hasidic sect, Berland fled Israel 2013 amid allegations that he molested two female followers, one of them a minor.

He was on the run from authorities from 2013 to 2016, eluding several Israeli attempts to extradite him. He moved between Zimbabwe, Switzerland, the Netherlands and South Africa, accompanied by a group of devout followers numbering around 40 families.

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