Orthodox rabbi arrested for sex assault in London: reports

21st February 2013, Comments 0 comments

A rabbi from an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in London has been arrested on suspicion of sexual assault and perverting the course of justice, police and media reports said Thursday.

Police said a 54-year-old man was arrested on Wednesday, and he was named by the BBC and the online Times of Israel newspaper as Rabbi Chaim Halpern, who leads a synagogue in Golders Green in north London.

Halpern has been accused in recent months of sexually abusing women in marriage counselling sessions, which he denies, according to The Jewish Chronicle newspaper.

Another three men aged 64, 62 and 25 were also arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of perverting the course of justice in relation to Halpern's arrest, which was made by Scotland Yard's sex crimes unit, Sapphire.

"All the arrests were made at addresses in Barnet borough and follow an investigation by the Sapphire Unit at Barnet Police Station who are investigating claims of sexual assault," Scotland Yard said in a statement.

Halpern had in November resigned as a dayan -- senior rabbi -- of the Union of the Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, a body representing several Orthodox synagogues, following the complaints, according to The Jewish Chronicle.

He subsequently issued a statement proclaiming his innocence.

© 2013 AFP

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