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Goel Ratzon in court
Photo: Yaron Brener
Police raid Ratzon's house in south Tel Aviv
Photo: Avi Cohen
Goel Ratzon accused of raping minors
Guru who lived with 32 women, dozens of children charged with sex offenses, enslavement, deception. Indictment says he fully controlled his wives' lives, created 'status of an omnipotent with healing, destruction and cursing capabilities'
Polygamist Goel Ratzon was charged Sunday with dozens of sex offenses, including rape, sodomy, and indecent assault. His victims were said to include minors. He was also accused of fraud and treating his wives like slaves.

 

Ratzon, who had lived with 32 women and dozens of children, was arrested last month in a wide-scale police operation. His son, Yigal Ratzon, arrived at the court Sunday and continued to insist that his father was innocent.

 

The indictment is divided into nine chapters, and includes dozens of clauses describing a large number of incidents.

 

The State asked the court to place a gag order on the investigation, saying that it includes "intimate, sensitive and shameful details, which have the power of humiliating any person." One of the reasons for the request, the State Prosecutor's Office explained, was the "fragile mental state of the women", who are defined as "victims of a difficult trauma of many years of slavery."

 

According to the indictment, Ratzon created "a status of an omnipotent with healing, destruction and cursing capabilities", through which he possesses full control of his wives' lives, desires, thoughts and performance.

 

According to the State Prosecutor's Office, Ratzon had many diverse ways to influence his wives, causing them to depend on him completely. He allegedly instilled a distorted reality, leading them to believe that their entire being, essence and physical and mental life derive their existence from him.

 

The indictment describes the "family" setting Ratzon built around him: "The defendant captured the women in a human group structure with the nature of a pseudo-family revolving around the ritual of his image, turning the birth of his children into a supreme goal the wives must aspire to, all with the aim of glorifying him while serving him and providing all his needs."

 

The State went on to say that Ratzon abused his wives by scorning them, while ridiculing their personality and independence and trampling over their self-image and self-value.

 

He kept them away from any external social connection, including their families, damaging their judgment and free will and enslaving them to provide his economic and sexual needs, the indictment said.

 

'Don't worry, you'll get used to it'

Many of the indictment clauses refer to the sex offenses allegedly committed by Ratzon. One describes a 19-year-old girl who was raped by Ratzon from the age of 15 to 17 on a nearly daily basis. He is also accused of indecent assault of another girl, by caressing her sexual organs and kissing her while pushing his tongue into her mouth.

 

He is also accused of raping and sexually harassing a girl whose mother died when she was a baby. According to the indictment, he distanced the girl from her family and promised to marry her. He convinced her that he had supernatural powers and ignored her request to stop kissing and caressing her.

 

Several days later, he took a shower with the girl and raped her. When she complained that it hurt, he responded, "Don't worry, you'll get used to it." In another incident, he performed oral sex on the girl and raped her again.

 

"The defendant knew that the young girl was subject to his magical influence, which he nurtured and implanted in a way preventing her from granting her free agreement," the indictment stated. "Shortly after these acts were committed, the young woman's father managed to locate her and remove her forcibly."

 

Police: Most women will testify

Last week, the Tel Aviv District Police said that most of Ratzon's wives had incriminated him when they were questioned and would testify against him in the trial. The police believe they have a well-established case against the man, claiming that most of his wives have "become sober".

 

After nearly a month in detainment, Goel Ratzon spoke out for the first time during a hearing in Tel Aviv Magistrates' Court, claiming he was innocent.

 

"They can say things about me, (but) they're not true. They are putting the squeeze on me during investigation," he said.

 

Regarding the book of rules he allegedly wrote for the women and their children living with him, Ratzon said, "There was no book. That is an invention of the media."

 

Ratzon also addressed concerns that his wives would try to hurt themselves when he was arrested: "I didn't expect anything. Nothing was supposed to happen when they arrested me."

  

He also denied committing sexual offenses. "This is what the police claims, not me," he said.

 

But the testimonies collected by the police paint a different picture. The investigators discovered that Ratzon, thanks to his special "charm", managed to get hold of intelligent women and turn them into slaves with no personal desire. The women told the investigators they would drive him to different places, buy him things, take loans for him and pay for his trips abroad – all in order to please him.

 

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