Two weeks after the arrest of Aharon Ramati, suspected of running a cult, the police investigation is not yet completed and the prosecution is requesting to carry out further investigations, B’Chadrei Chareidim reported. The court acceded to the request and extended his arrest by two days.
“The defendant has already proven that if he is released he will obstruct [legal proceedings],” the police representative said at the hearing. The police suspect that Ramati received information on his impending arrest two weeks ago and hid some of the minors that were at the “seminary” complex.
Since the investigation began, 103 testimonies have been recorded against Ramati.
Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court Judge Elazer Bialin stated: [Ramati’s] crimes are supported by wiretapping carried out by the police. At this stage, much of the investigation is vulnerable to obstruction [of legal proceedings] and therefore his detainment is extended to January 29.”
As YWN previously reported, the case began with reports to the Jerusalem District’s Fraud & Economic Crime Unit about the existence of a closed community operating as a “girls’ school,” at which women live together with their children in cramped and squalid living conditions in a housing complex under the control of a man suspected of abusing the women and children physically, financially and emotionally.
Over the past two months, police investigators, together with the State Prosecutor’s Office, conducted an undercover investigation and gathered evidence against Ramati of maintaining absolute control over about 50 women, coercing them to cut off contact with friends and family and isolating them in the complex. It was also found that Ramati maintained control over the women through various “punishments” and exploited them financially, with women working in various jobs approved by Ramati and then handing over their wages to Ramati.
Aharon Ramati, a name infamous in Jerusalem’s Chareidi circles, has been arrested at least once before under similar allegations when running the Be’er Miriam “seminary” in Sanhedria and other locations. There have been allegations against him for at least a decade for housing teenaged girls in squalid living conditions and maintaining cult-like control over them. There was even a protest against him by Chareidi residents of Sandhedria and nearby neighborhoods about five years ago. Prior police investigations led to Ramati’s arrest and the seminary being closed down in 2013 and 2015.
Unfortunately, Ramati was let out of the jail each time and the police investigations were closed for lack of evidence and Ramati would just open another “seminary” in another location.
Many many years ago, both Hagaon Harav Elyashiv z’tl and Hagaon Harav Ovadia Yosef,z’tl signed statements condemning Ramati as dangerous and forbidding girls from studying under him.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)