Rabbi Motti Elon found guilty of sexual misconduct

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Modern Orthodox leader Rabbi Mordechai “Motti” Elon was convicted of sexually assaulting a minor.

Elon, former rosh yeshiva of Yeshivat HaKotel in Jerusalem, was found guilty Wednesday in Jerusalem  Magistrate’s Court of the incidents that occurred in 2003 and 2005 on students that had come to him for advice.

He was found guilty of two charges of indecent acts against a minor, but acquitted on to other sexual assault and sexual harassment charges. One of the complainants refused to testify against Elon in court.

Accusations of sexual misconduct against Elon were first investigated by a Modern Orthodox forum, Takana, which deals with complaints of sexual harassment in the religious school system. The forum in 2006 ordered that Elon no longer have contact with students. Shortly after, Elon left his teaching positions and moved from Jerusalem to the northern moshav Migdal, citing health reasons.

The public investigation against Elon began in February 2010, after Takana went to police with the sexual harassment complaints, saying Elon had violated the restrictions on contact with students that had been imposed on him.

Elon denied the charges and rejected a plea bargain under which he would have pleaded guilty but not served jail time.

Elon is the founder of the MiBereshit educational program, which is distributed throughout the world in Hebrew and English. He is the son of former Israeli Supreme Court Justice Menachem Elon, and the brother of former Knesset member Benny Elon.

Elon is scheduled to be sentenced in October, though his is likely to appeal the verdict.