Cleric accused of sexual abuse

IOL, New Zealand/April 12, 2010

Geneva - A Swiss cleric has been accused of sexually abusing a minor for a number of years, local media reported Monday.

The Zurich public prosecutor was in charge of the investigation of the 72-year-old head of the Menorah Church, according to the Swiss ATS news agency. An indictment is expected in the coming months.

He is accused of abusing a young girl from 2006 - when she was seven years old - until his arrest.

The free church, founded in 1986, was described as having attributes similar to a cult, with strict doctrine, strong reliance on the leadership and an impending end-of-the-world belief system.

The family of the girl reportedly left the church once they discovered the abuse, though for over two years they did not suspect any wrongdoing by the fundamentalist leader.

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