Haredi children's author Chaim Walder, left behind a final note before apparently taking his own life Monday afternoon, Channel 12 News journalist Yair Sherki reported.
"I went to invite Yehuda Silman and Shmuel Eliyahu to a Torah trial in heaven," Walder wrote.
Walder reiterated his complete denial of all accusations against him and protested his innocence. "I have come to the conclusion that in the world of lies I have no chance to prove my innocence. I face terrible lies, covered by anonymity, without any possibility of proving the fact that they have no basis. I have reached the limit of human endurance. They hurt me with the things I was best at and which I gave my life for - the support and protection of children."
"I thank all those who believed in me. Bless you. And all those who did not: even if you gave up on me - please do not give up on my books. Every line, word and letter in them, was written with a sincere desire to do good, benefit, improve, strengthen, help, give, build and correct. I never wrote without a desire to bring good to the world and its inhabitants," Walder wrote.
Last month, Haaretz published an expose in which women testified that Walder had sexually abused them when they were teens. In response, the popular Eichlers Judaica bookstore in Brooklyn, New York, announced that it would remove all of Walder's books from its shelves, despite the significant financial loss involved.
Walder was best known for his series of children’s books, Children Talk About Themselves.
Safed Chief Rabbi Shmumel Eliyahu said in response to Walder's apparent suicide: "It is a pity that he chose this path, we suggested to him that he repair what he damaged. That he apologize to the victims. That he change his ways. That no more women be harmed."
According to Rabbi Eliyahu, Walder "could have taught many through repentance. It is a pity that he chose the path of suicide. We are strengthening the many victims at this difficult time, their lives take precedence over his life."
Rabbi Eliyahu, who summoned Walder to appear before a special rabbinical court he established together with Rabbi Reuven Nakar and Rabbi Aharon Yirchi, Walder yesterday how he came to the conclusion that the women who testified against Walder were telling the truth and even noted that Walder committed serious acts, as he defined them.
Rabbi Eliyahu said: "We checked and questioned and asked extensively, witnesses came before us who testified that he committed adultery with married women for many years until he caused them to divorce and be forbidden to their husbands. We have seen a court action on this and have strengthened things with further unequivocal evidence. We also heard recordings in his voice indicating serious acts of sexual crimes he had committed, and we found him guilty beyond any doubt."
"Even though it was clear to him that he was destroying homes. And even though it was clear to him that he was tripping and defiling the house of Israel, Walder continued on his way without stopping for a moment. We received testimonies about 22 women and girls he harmed, and there is no doubt that these cases are only a small part of the serious damage he caused."