Israeli polygamist, cult leader convicted of sexual offenses

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Israeli polygamist and cult leader was convicted of several sexual offenses including raping his wives.

Goel Ratzon was convicted Monday in Tel Aviv District Court in charges including rape, sodomy, indecent assault, and sexual abuse within the family. He was cleared on one charge of sexually enslaving one of the women the he called his wife.

Ratzon was arrested and indicted four and a half years ago, after a complaint filed by one of his of 21 ‘wives,’ with whom he fathered 38 children.

Ratzon made the women believe he was the savior of the world and that he had supernatural abilities. He also alienated the women from their families and only allowed them to speak in public areas of their home.

Ratzon, 64, never officially married any of the women that he called his wives.