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Canada: Court Order Against Lev Tahor Cult Upheld

Ontario court upholds Quebec ruling placing 13 abused children into foster care.
By Dalit Halevy, Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 2/5/2014, 10:40 PM

Court (illustrative)
Court (illustrative)
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Haredi extremist group Lev Tahor has also lost its legal battle in Ontario, according to Shalom Toronto.  

On Monday, a provincial court upheld a Quebec court ruling which ordered the removal of 14 children from their parents and foster families, after reports surfaced claiming rampant child abuse, underage marriage and non-provision of adequate medical care in the cult. 

The ruling applies to 13 children, as one of the 14 is over 17. The legal adult does have a child of her own, however - who will be transferred to foster care by court order. 

According to Canadian media, one of the charges against the families was that their children – who are homeschooled - did not know basic math, and in several cases, could not speak either English or French. The group teaches children in Yiddish (a European Jewish dialect), and restricts education for girls to domestic tasks such as sewing and cooking.

Child protection officials also leveled serious accusations that included extremely poor hygiene in homes, substandard healthcare, and cases in which children were forcibly removed from their homes and placed with other families.

The sect fled Quebec in November, just 4 days after the court ruling there was issued, in order to evade the justice system. They reached Chatham, Ontario; once discovered, Child Protection Services immediately began an investigation with their Quebec counterparts to assess how to handle the matter. 

Social workers testified in court that the drivers of the buses hired to transport the community were instructed not to stop nor open the bus doors for anyone between Quebec and Ontario until reaching the final destination in Chatham. 

Lev Tahor now has 30 days to appeal the latest ruling, and it appears that they intend to do so.

Meanwhile, the judge has ordered Child Protective Services to use police force if necessary to take the children and deport them to Quebec in the event that an appeal is not filed.

He cited the reason for the decision as a matter of principle; the cult was originally tried and sentenced in Quebec, and allowing them to remain in Ontario to be tried there after fleeing justice sets a precedent for future offenders looking to evade the law.