By Melanie Lidman (The Jerusalem Post)
September 15, 2011
The men, all in their 40s and 50s, knew each other through the neighborhood but were not acting in an organized fashion to abuse the children.
One of the men arrested recently was also arrested in February for similar sexual abuse of minors. Police requested he be imprisoned, but he was released to house arrest with an electronic bracelet to track his whereabouts.
Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben Ruby said that the man continued abusing children while on house arrest.
The two men already served with indictments both used candy to lure children from the neighborhood into their apartments, where they would sexually abuse and sodomize them. One suspect told the children that if he told anyone what had happened, the suspect would burn down his house and kill him. In a limited number of incidents, more than one of the suspects was involved in an incident of abuse.
Four of the men are from the haredi portion of the neighborhood. Ben Ruby said that due to the closed nature of the community, the police often have a difficult time identifying and arresting suspects.
"We hope that if there are [sexual assaults] that people will file complaints, but we also use intelligence to try to figure out what is going on," he said on Wednesday.
The fifth man is a well-known pillar of the community who had built a whimsical community garden in the courtyard, said neighbors.
After hearing of the arrests, the neighbors destroyed the garden in anger.
On Wednesday, all that was left was a pile of stones and a homemade sign that said in English "No [suspect name], no scared children."
"When I heard about what had happened and told my wife, I couldn't fall asleep all night," said Yitzhak, who was sitting in the courtyard on Wednesday and studies at a nearby Kollel.
"I knew one of the victims, he had serious behavioral problems, he was always banging his head against the wall, slamming it so hard that he was breaking the walls of his family's apartment," he said. "To think that someone is responsible for this... it just disgusts me."