Ultra-Orthodox Jews flee Quebec over foster care orders

MONTREAL, March 6 (UPI) -- Members of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish Lev Tahor Jewish sect in Quebec have fled Canada ahead of court appearances related to alleged child abuse.

Among those who fled the country are 14 children ranging in age from 6 months to 17 years who were to be placed in foster homes in Quebec, the (Montreal) Gazette reported Thursday.


In November, a Quebec Superior Court judge in St. Jerome ordered the children be placed in foster care after Quebec's Department of Youth Protection alleged abuse, neglect and squalid living conditions in their homes. At that time, families of the children fled the area.

On Wednesday, six of the children were located in Trinidad and Tobago with three adults. The eight other children have not yet been found.

Nachman Helbrans, a spokesperson for the Lev Tahor community confirmed the children left Quebec to avoid being placed in foster care.

"The children are on a trip, on a vacation," he said, without specifying where they are.

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