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July 26, 2014 / 28 Tammuz, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Lev Tahor’

Canada Arrests Seven Lev Tahor Sect Members Arrested In Raid

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

A dozen Canadian border security officials raided the compound of the fringe Haredi Orthodox sect Lev Tahor Wednesday and arrested seven members believed to be in violation of immigration laws.

Two families in the Lev Tahor community are at the center of an ongoing child custody case, including one family who fled to Guatemala, the Canadian Press reported.

One Lev Tahor man was seen being driven away in handcuffs. One witness said she saw immigration officials trying to enter a building where Lev Tahor children are believed to be housed. “I can hear the children crying and praying,” the source said.

Last month, 14 children and several Lev Tahor adults fled Canada ahead of an appeal of an Ontario court order mandating that the children be placed in the care of children’s aid in Quebec. Eight of the children made it to Trinidad and Tobago, where they were taken into custody and returned to Canada. Two more children taken into custody in Calgary also were removed from the sect.

The rest are in limbo in Guatemala, their original destination.

This week, a lawyer for one Lev Tahor family removed himself from the case.

About 250 members of the community fled Quebec last fall just before officials could seize some of the children. Child welfare officials said they had evidence of abuse, squalid living conditions, underage marriages and substandard education.

Lev Tahor members maintain they are being persecuted for their strict religious beliefs.

Six Lev Tahor Children May Remain In Guatemala, Judge Rules

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Six children from the Haredi Lev Tahor sect who fled Canada will be allowed to remain in Guatemala with their parents, but with conditions, a Guatemalan family court judge ruled Tuesday.

The Lev Tahor members from two families can stay in the Central American country, but they must check in with the Canadian embassy within three days, the Toronto Star reported. Sect members must return to the town of Solola, where they settled after fleeing Canada earlier this month, with the proper paperwork from the Canadian embassy, the judge said.

A violation of the order will lead to criminal charges, according to the newspaper.

Fourteen children and several Lev Tahor adults fled Canada two weeks ago ahead of an appeal of an Ontario court order mandating that the children be placed in protective custody.

Eight of the children traveled to Trinidad and Tobago, where they were taken into custody and returned to Canada. Two more children were apprehended in Calgary and also removed from the sect.

Child protection officials in Ontario and Quebec say they have evidence of abuse in the community, including physical beatings, underage marriage and substandard education. The community has denied all allegations and claims it is a victim of religious persecution.

A spokesman for Guatemala’s Ministry of Immigration confirmed Monday that the Lev Tahor members are under surveillance by the country’s national police force, the Star reported.

Canadian Judge Orders Law Enforcement to Apprehend Lev Tahor Children

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

A Canadian judge has ordered child protection officials to use law enforcement agencies to apprehend 14 children in the haredi Orthodox sect Lev Tahor after most of them fled the country.

On Wednesday, the judge was supposed to hear an appeal of an earlier ruling to seize the children and return them to Quebec to be placed in foster care. No members of Lev Tahor showed up, and reports surfaced that several sect members had fled to Guatemala and Trinidad and Tobago.

The judge ordered child protection officials in Chatham-Kent, Ontario to use the resources of local, provincial and federal police, and the Canada Border Services Agency, to locate the children and return them to Canada to be placed in the temporary care of Chatham-Kent Children’s Services. The order applies to three families.

Police said that 12 of the children under the order have left the country. The location of the other two remains unknown.

Earlier this week, authorities in Trinidad and Tobago stopped nine sect members of the sect — three adults and six children — at the airport as they were en route to Guatemala. They were offered a flight back to Toronto but refused, insisting they go to Guatemala.

According to a report in Trinidad media, the nine are “not detained” and neither are they deemed “fugitives.” They were stopped because of “inconsistencies” in their answers to questions and have hired a local lawyer, the report said. They remain at the airport, having spurned offers of a hotel.

Canadian embassy officials met Thursday with authorities from Trinidad’s security ministry, which handles immigration.

Another six children are already in Guatemala, reported the Montreal Gazette.

In an interview Thursday with the Gazette, Canadian youth protection official Denis Baraby said he’s concerned the remaining members of Lev Tahor are planning another exodus and that the rest of the children have to be seized soon.

“I think the community is preparing a mass move,” Baraby said. “If we want to protect the children that are in the community, we need to start working on the exit of the 114 other children.”

Some 250 members of Lev Tahor fled Quebec in November just ahead of a court order to seize 14 children and place them in foster care. Authorities said they had evidence of physical abuse, neglect, underage marriage and the forced ingestion of drugs.

The Lev Tahor settled in southwest Ontario, where the Quebec order was upheld last month. The affected families were told not to leave Canada pending the appeal. Baraby said the adults who took the children out of the country could be charged with kidnapping.

Canadian Court: Lev Tahor Sect Must Surrender Children

Friday, March 7th, 2014

A Canadian court ordered the fringe haredi Orthodox Lev Tahor sect to turn over as many as 13 of its children to authorities after some of its members appeared to have fled the country.

Police officers and children’s aid workers visited Lev Tahor homes Wednesday night in Chatham-Kent, in southwest Ontario, with the landlord helping them gain access to residences where no one was home, the Toronto Star reported.

Officers told sect members who answered the door that they were there because of a “court order” and that they were looking for children. The officials refused to answer reporters’ questions.

A court official told the Star that a judge had issued an order for the children after Lev Tahor parents failed to show up in court on Wednesday. The parents were scheduled to appeal a decision to have the children returned to adjacent Quebec.

Some 200 members of Lev Tahor left Quebec for Ontario last fall just before authorities could execute an order from a Quebec court to place 14 children in foster care following allegations of physical abuse, neglect, underage marriages and forced medications in the community.

The affected families were forbidden from leaving Canada. But on Wednesday, nine sect members — three adults and six children, according to the Star — were detained in Trinidad and Tobago. The group was en route to Guatemala when immigration officials at Port of Spain’s Piarco International Airport stopped them, the Trinidad Ministry of National Security said in a statement.

The Lev Tahor members were denied entry because they gave inconsistent answers when questioned by immigration officials, the statement said.

It was not immediately confirmed whether the children detained were those named in the Ontario court order.

However, Stephen Doig, executive director of Chatham-Kent Children’s Services, told the Globe and Mail newspaper, “We now apparently have those children missing in defiance of that court order. We would certainly have some concerns about the welfare of those children.”

A Lev Tahor spokesman did not comment on whether the two families targeted by the court order had indeed left for Trinidad. Asked whether the 14 children were still in Chatham, he said, “I don’t think so.”

On Wednesday, another Lev Tahor member told the Toronto Sun that the children who left “are on a trip, on a vacation.”

The rest of the sect remains in Ontario.

Lev Tahor Sect Members Arrested in Trinidad

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

An Ontario court has ordered the apprehension of 13 children from the bizarre Haredi sect Lev Tahor, following the news that a few sect members have traveled to Trinidad and Tobago, the Toronto Star reported.

Police and local Children’s Services workers visited Lev Tahor homes Wednesday night, and were allowed by the landlord into premises where the tenants have vacated without notice.

Police officers told sect members who did answer their door that they had a court order to collect their children. That must have gone over well.

Those police and CS teams visited more than a dozen homes on Wednesday night, but walked away empty handed, as the children were not to be found. Although they didn’t invest a lot of energy in searching for the kids – according to the Star, their visits lasted less than 10 minutes.

The court order was revealed after Children’s Services brought an emergency motion on the day that a court had been scheduled to hear an appeal related to an earlier order for the removal of 13 children over allegations—mostly made by one individual—of physical abuse and a substandard education regime within the sect.

Earlier on Wednesday, several members of Lev Tahor were detained by border authorities in Trinidad and Tobago, the Star reported.

A senior immigration official in Trinidad and Tobago told the Star that three adult members of the sect had arrived with six children around 5 AM Wednesday.

The families involved in the court appeal have been under strict restrictions not to leave the region of Chatham-Kent, Ontario.

The official said the sect members had flown in from Toronto and were en route to Mexico.

“Usually if you are coming into the country you must have a ticket saying you are going on to another part. Because they did not have that, immigration refused them entry,” said the Trinidad official.

He said the group refused to go back to Toronto and so it was detained. He said the group hired a lawyer to try to get into Guatemala.

“I think they ended up in Trinidad by mistake because they missed their flight to Mexico,” said the official.

The Sun quotes Lev Tahor spokesman Nachman Helbrans, who confirmed the two families and 13 kids are no longer at the rural Ontario settlement where they had fled to from Quebec last fall just before officials could execute the order to seize the children. He said he did not know where they had gone.

“The children are on a trip, on a vacation,” he told the Sun, saying the families wanted to be out of the country until after the court makes its decision, because they don’t want their kids sent back to Quebec.

Police Allege Lev Tahor Abuse, Confinement, Forced Marriages (Video)

Sunday, February 16th, 2014

Recently released police documents the ongoing investigation into the Haredi group Lev Tahor include allegations of sexual abuse, detention, and beatings with crowbars, belts, whips and a coat hanger, according to the Toronto Star.

None of the material evidence reported in this report has been reviewed in court, as part of an indictment. So far, the discussion over the fate of the group has been conducted largely between the courts and child welfare agencies.

The redacted police documents outline information used to obtain search warrants executed in January on properties belonging to Lev Tahor families in both Ontario and Quebec. They chronicle allegations describing a community whose women and children live in a tightly controlled environment with strictly enforced rules and punishment.

The documents include interviews with members of the community, social workers and unnamed witnesses dating back to 2012. The names of any children mentioned are protected by a publication ban.

Nachman Helbrans, the son of sect leader Rabbi Shlomo Helbrans, told the Star in a phone interview the allegations are untrue and the result of a campaign being waged against them by former members.

“Nothing is done by force in our community. Nothing, nothing,” Helbrans insisted. “If this is serious allegations, how come in April 2012 they didn’t come one time to my house?”

“It’s against all the way of life in Lev Tahor to use force for any small or big issue. No one dreams about using force,” he said.

According to Digital Journal, a man named Adam Brudzewsky who spent two years living among the Lev Tahor group in Quebec, is the source of testimony linking them to the alleged crimes.

Brudzewsky, in his late 20s, Danish-born, has been described as someone trying to expose the Lev Tahor for their abuse of children who may also be a liar and mentally unstable.

Back in November, Brudzewsky told a Quebec court a disturbing tale of the two years he spent living with Lev Tahor, including his arranged marriage to a 15-year-old girl, the forced removals of children from their parents and a cult of personality surrounding the group’s spiritual leader.

The testimony added weight to the findings of child-protection workers who had been conducting a three-month probe of Lev Tahor.

That probe was cut short after some 200 Members of Lev Tahor fled Quebec to Toronto in November, reports indicate, where the Chatham-Kent child protective services have been keeping watch on the group. A judge had ordered 14 of the children to be placed in foster care in Quebec for at least a month.

Rabbi Shlomo Helbrans, who was convicted of kidnapping a young boy in 1994 in a U.S. court and served a two-year prison term before being deported to Israel, expressed rage at the authorities in Quebec, according to the Toronto Sun. Helbrans accused judges, political leaders, police and child protective services in Quebec of being bigots and antisemites, comparing them to Nazi war criminals. Here’s a video published last Friday, February 14, showing Helbrans before his own final departure From Quebec. Warning – the video and sound qualities are inconsistent.



In this video, shot in November 2013, Yoel Weingarten, a member of Lev Tahor, defended his community, accusing Israeli non-religious family members of being behind the persecution of his community. Weingarten also responds to allegation of neglect, and poor hygiene.



According to JTA, police search warrants paint an alarming picture of life in the close-knit, reclusive community. One man was quoted as saying he was diagnosed with a personality disorder and forced to take medications. Another member told police about beatings with sticks, crowbars, whips and belts. “He was forced to take pills during meal times three times a day,” the warrants state.

A witness (most likely Brudzewsky) said he saw a woman struck in the face because she refused to wear the burqa-like outfit for women that has led some media to deride the group as the Jewish Taliban.

Girls who were 13 or 14 were disciplined by being held in house basements while girls who were 14 and 15 were married to adult men, the police documents said. Children were also taken from their biological parents if the sect’s leader deemed they were not taught properly, the document added.

“There are about 20-30 children who have changed families. [A person who spoke to authorities] said that some children adapt well and return to their families but that others are upset, cry a lot,” the warrants state.

Children from Haredi Sect Must Return To Quebec, Judge Rules

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

An Ontario judge ruled Monday that children from a fringe Haredi sect whose members fled Quebec while the community was being investigated by social services should be returned to the province.

The court upheld a Quebec order to place 13 children from the Lev Tahor sect into temporary foster care, The Canadian Press reported, but the judge placed a 30-day stay on the order to give the families time to appeal.

The children, who live outside Chatham, Ontario, about two hours southwest of Toronto, were ordered into temporary foster care by a Quebec court in November.

Authorities in Quebec, where sect members had lived north of Montreal for several years, said they had evidence of neglect, psychological abuse, poor dental and physical health, and a substandard education regime in the community.

The 13 children belong to three families. A publication ban prohibits identifying them, and the community denies all allegations and has said it is the victim of a Zionist smear effort.

Last week, Quebec police, with the assistance of local officers, raided two homes in the Lev Tahor community in Ontario. Rabbi Nachman Helbrans, son of sect founder Shlomo Helbrans, said the search may have been an attempt to find evidence of illegal child marriages.

A former sect member testified in Quebec that he had personally witnessed seven underage marriages.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/children-from-haredi-sect-must-return-to-quebec-judge-rules/2014/02/04/

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