May 18, 2006

Rabbi Mordechai Gafni accused of sexually exploiting women


Last update - 13:59 18/05/2006

By Roni Singer-Heruti, Haaretz Correspondent

Three female members of the international spiritual community "Bayit Chadash" (New Home) last week filed complaints of sexual exploitation against the head of the community, Rabbi Mordechai Gafni.

The three were Gafni's students and worked beside him within the community. They accuse him of using his authority over them to take advantage of them.

Gafni, 44, is the founder of Bayit Chadash, a self proclaimed "neo-Orthodox" spiritual-cultural Jewish community. Gafni is also known for his research work as well as being the author of several books and host of a television show on Channel 2.

The three women, along with another woman who has decided not to make an official complaint, all claim that they were manipulated into having sex by Gafni, who used his authority as their rabbi. The women told the police Gafni swore them to secrecy after having sex with them.

The affair came out accidentally when two of the women discussed their respective sexual relationships and realized both of them had been sexually exploited by Gafni. After discovering that two other women had had similar experiences, the four women approached "Bayit Chadash" leaders and told them about the encounters.

Posted by kshaw at May 18, 2006 12:04 PM