A fugitive Israeli who is considered to be the ringleader of, and “spiritual mentor” responsible for, one of the worst child abuse cases in Israeli history has fled to Brazil, police said Thursday, after the lifting of a court-imposed gag order.
The mother of eight indicted for child abuse, left, and “rabbi” Elior Chen, suspected of being her mentor.
Rabbi Elior Chen, 29, and his followers are suspected of severely abusing two children, ages three and four, who were beaten with hammers, knives and other implements for months, until the younger child lost consciousness in March.
They are also suspected of the severely abusing other children in the family.
The three-year-old suffered permanent brain damage as a result of the abuse he suffered at the hands of his mother and her companions, according to an indictment filed in a Jerusalem court.
He is expected to remain in a vegetative state for the rest of his life.
Chen originally flew from Israel to Canada to avoid arrest after police uncovered the abuse, then immediately continued to Brazil.
Brazilian police are still searching for Chen, Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said.