Unsealed Lev Tahor Transcripts

Lev Tahor children in Chatham-Kent. Photo by Ashton Patis.

Newly released court documents show Lev Tahor families fled the country days before their appeal hearing in a Chatham-Kent court.

Chatham-Kent Children’s Services told Superior Court Justice Lynda Templeton social workers warned the group not to leave the country, only to find the families gone when they visited the community on March 2, three days before their scheduled appearance.

Templeton ordered the emergency apprehension of 14 Lev Tahor children after it was discovered they had fled to Central America, stating allegations made by CKCS workers were so “grave and serious that intervention of a court is immediatly warranted.”

CKCS employees also told the court the ultra-orthodox Jewish sect became uncooperative in January after social workers confirmed at least one girl had been married underage. Social workers report 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 being apprehended at the Calgary International Airport and in Trinidad and Tobago. Six remain in Guatemala where they are reportedly seeking refugee status.