‘Conversion to Judaism’ claimed over Toronto sexual abuse claims

Image copyright SUSAN CARTER Image caption The alleged victims were mostly children

A man who claimed he was claiming conversion to Judaism was arrested after being accused of sexually assaulting at least 15 young children over the past six years at a Toronto church.

The Ministry of Community Safety said it had stepped in when it received the allegations.

Two victims have said they were molested between the ages of five and nine.

The head of the Diocese of Toronto said that it welcomed the arrest of the accused.

Toronto Police said its CID Sex Crimes Unit, whose investigators also included members of the Toronto Special Victims Unit, were able to trace the offences alleged to the Toronto Reformed Church.

The accused has been arrested and is expected to appear in court on Tuesday.

Image copyright SUSAN CARTER Image caption The arrest took place at the Toronto Reformed Church, though the Diocese was not named

The alleged abuse occurred at two locations.

One occurred in the church, while the other one was at a separate location.

The first victim, a 38-year-old man, had been molested between the ages of five and nine by the accused in 2013 at the Toronto Reformed Church.

The second victim, also aged 38, reported his abuse to police on Friday.

The ministry of community safety was called in after the claims were reported, it said.

The man, who is in his 30s, had been in a relationship with a member of the church for many years, it said.

It said the man was asking for conversion to Judaism, and that he had sought treatment from a counsellor for clinical depression.

The man was in the process of settling the relationship out of court, it said.

“The ministry of community safety applauds the investigation and arrest of this man,” it said.

In a statement on Sunday the Toronto Diocese did not name the church.

Its secretary said: “The Diocese of Toronto recognises this unfortunate situation and is offering legal counsel to our parishioners and guests, and is actively reaching out to any parents, children, youth and neighbours who are concerned for their safety or the safety of their children.”

He added: “The Diocese of Toronto, with the assistance of the local police and the church’s spiritual education director, has established a crisis line, 888-885-7256, for clergy members and residents to receive pastoral counselling.”

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