Quebec police search warrants have been issued in relation to allegations that members of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect inflicted psychological and physical abuse on teenaged girls.
The abuses allegedly took place in the Lev Tahor 'Jewish Taliban' sect that settled in Quebec and Ontario. Details of the warrants were made public following media requests.
Prosecutors ordered that 14 children in the community be moved to temporary foster care because of allegations of neglect and abuse. About 200 members of the sect fled Quebec in November before the court order was executed.
According to the documents, girls as young as 13 were imprisoned in basements and girls aged 14-15 were married to old men in the group. One woman said she was struck with a belt and a coat hanger and a pregnant 17-year-old girl said she was beaten by her brother, sexually abused by her father and married by force to a 30-year-old man when she was 15.
Many of the children were drugged, said the court documents.
The Jewish Taliban nickname was given because of the way members dress and because of the sect's anti-Zionist attitude. They are led by Rabbi Shlomo Helbrans, who was convicted in 1994 on charges of conspiracy to kidnap after he tried to convert a teenage boy.
Children were also taken from their biological parents, according to the documents: "There are about 20-30 children who have changed families. [A person who spoke to authorities] said that some children adapt well and return to their families but that others are upset, cry a lot," the warrant application said.
Others witnesses came forward with claims of assault and beatings with sticks, crowbars, whips and belts. One woman said she was hit in the face because she did not want to wear the burqa-like dress for women.