A month and a half after being released to house arrest, cult leader Aharon Ramati was informed that he will be indicted, subject to a hearing, B’Chadrei Chareidim reported.
The Jerusalem District’s Prosecutor informed Ramati’s lawyer on Thursday morning that she is planning to indict Ramati for holding victims in slave-like conditions and other criminal offenses.
Ramati was arrested in January when Israel Police raided the “Be’er Miriam seminary” – a sefardi Chareidi girls’ seminary – in the Bucharim neighborhood of Jerusalem and arrested Ramati and eight women on suspicion of holding victims in slave-like conditions, child abuse, and other forms of abuse.
Ramati, 60, was accused of running a closed community “cult” of dozens of women and children and abusing them physically, emotionally and financially. Ramati, his wife and seven other women were all arrested on criminal charges of exploitation and holding victims in slave-like conditions.
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.
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)