Lev Tahor to lose children to foster care, judge rules

Lev Tahor children are walked home during the lunch hour from the makeshift school they attend in...

Lev Tahor children are walked home during the lunch hour from the makeshift school they attend in Chatham, Ont., Friday, November 29, 2013. (Diana Martin/QMI Agency)

Jane Sims, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:30 AM ET

CHATHAM, Ont. - Child-welfare officials have a judge's go-ahead to seize 13 ultra-orthodox Jewish kids and send them back to Quebec in temporary foster care.

But Ontario Court Justice Stephen Fuerth on Monday also delayed his order for 30 days, giving the controversial religious sect, Lev Tahor, time to appeal.

In his ruling, he also rebuked the group for fleeing Quebec when child-welfare authorities there were investigating.

That probe led to a Quebec court order to take the children into care.

The group's "unilateral actions," Fuerth said, "placed these children at further risk of harm and could not be construed as concern for the interests of their children."

The children belong to three Lev Tahor families, who arrived in Chatham with more than 200 followers last November after fleeing their homes in the dead of night in Ste. Agathe-des Monts, Que., north of Montreal.

Quebec officials want to put the children into temporary care, amid allegations -- not proven in court -- the group abuses and neglects its kids, forces arranged marriages of young teen girls and provides a poor standard of education.

Another appeal is set Feb. 20 in Quebec of its order to apprehend the children, which the Chatham court was asked to enforce.


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