Israel Charges Harem Leader With Rape, Enslavement
Goel Ratzon allegedly had 21 women, 49 children in cultlike atmosphere
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 14, 2010 7:27 AM CST
Goel Ratzon at a hearing in Tel Aviv, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2010. Ratzon, 60, whose first name is Hebrew for "Savior," is in a Tel Aviv jail, suspected by police of enslaving a cult-like harem.   (MOTI MILROD)

(Newser) – A 60-year-old Israeli man who kept a harem of at least 21 women who bore him 49 children has been charged with enslavement, rape, incest, and other sexual offenses. Goel Ratzon was arrested last month but wasn't charged formally until today. Ratzon, who remains behind bars, denies wrongdoing. The 25-page indictment accuses him of setting himself up as a "godlike" figure who preyed on troubled women while treating them like "chattel."

It said he created an "image of an omnipotent one who was blessed with supernatural powers and the ability to heal, destroy, and cast curses." Police were aware of Ratzon for years, but say they couldn't make any allegations stick until three of the women brought complaints to welfare authorities.