POLITICS

Social workers warned Lev Tahor families not to leave Canada: transcripts

03/19/2014 05:19 EDT | Updated 05/19/2014 05:59 EDT
CHATHAM, Ont. - Newly released court documents show social workers warned members of an ultra-orthodox Jewish sect involved in a child welfare case not to leave the country shortly before they did.

Chatham-Kent Children's Services said during a closed-door court hearing earlier this month that their warning went unheeded, as they found the Lev Tahor families gone when they visited the community three days before a scheduled court appearance.

Transcripts of the secret hearing, made available today, show that the judge ordered the emergency apprehension of 14 children after it was discovered they had fled to Central America.

Children's aid workers also told the court the community became unco-operative in January after social workers confirmed at least one girl had been married underage.

Social workers reported one family under investigation had eight children and two adults living in a two-bedroom apartment, with mattresses scattered across the living room.

Eight Lev Tahor children are now in custody after six were apprehended in Trinidad and Tobago and two were found in Calgary.

Six children remain in Guatemala with their parents and another adult and a judge there ruled the family would need to receive permission from the Canadian Embassy to stay in Guatemala, given the ongoing investigation in Canada. (BlackBurnNews.com)