Rabbi Moti Elon Guilty of Indecent Act
The Jerusalem Magistrates' Court has delivered a guilty verdict in the trial of Rabbi Mordechai (Moti) Elon, who was accused of performing an indecent act with a minor, while taking advantage of being in a position of authority.
Rabbi Elon, who was cleared by the court of one of the two charges brought against him, denied the accusations and has said he will appeal.
Judge Ronit Mak-Kalmanovich rejected Rabbi Elon's denials.
The judge's verdict was received by a silent courtroom, as Rabbi Elon himself busied himself with the reading of Psalms. A short time after the verdict had been read out, some members of Rabbi Elon's family began crying.
The acts attributed to Elon occurred in 2005.
He is expected to appeal the decision. His lawyer said that he had been disappointed with the judge and her decision, but that this was only “the first battle” and that the campaign would continue.
The maximal punishment for the crime Rabbi Elon was convicted of is seven years' jail. The sentence will be delivered in early October.
On exiting the courtroom, Rabbi Elon thanked G-d, and expressed gratitude to his faamily and his lawyer. He read out verses from Psalms, and said that he had planned to read these verses no matter what the decision turned out to be.
He then invited the public to a Torah lesson he plans to deliver in his beit midrash at Migdal this evening.
The Takana Forum expressed its pleasure with the verdict.
The Takana Forum, which is officially headed by Rabbi Yaakov Ariel, is a body with no official powers that has taken upon itself to handle complaints of sexually inappropriate behavior by authority figures within the religious community. Such complaints, it says, have a tendency to be swept under the rug.
The Forum spearheaded the campaign that led to the trial of Rabbi Elon.
The person widely seen as the driving spirit behind Takana is Yehudit Shilat. At one time, the Forum included several representatives of Kolech, which is backed by the New Israel Fund, but these announced at a certain point that they were no longer members of the Forum, and will remain in it only as observers.