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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Police search Jewish sect's Ontario apartments near Chatham, Ont.

CHATHAM, Ont. - Legal counsel for an ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect says Quebec authorities have conducted a search warrant at the Lev Tahor apartments just north of Chatham, Ont.

Patricia Duffield says unknown Quebec authorities and Chatham-Kent police arrived at the residences Wednesday evening.

Duffield says police had a sealed search warrant and were looking for computers and electronics in regards to an ongoing criminal investigation.

No information was provided by either Chatham-Kent police or the Quebec authorities due to the sealed warrant.

Members of Lev Tahor moved to Chatham-Kent in November, citing pressures from the Quebec education system as the reason for leaving.

An Ontario judge will decide on Feb. 3 if the children will remain in Chatham-Kent, or be sent back to Quebec to be placed in foster care.

Child welfare authorities in Chatham are now asking the court to enforce an order subsequently made in Quebec that would see 14 children placed in foster care. The order is being appealed in Quebec.

The community denies any mistreatment of the children and says they were already planning to move out of Quebec.

The Lev Tahor, which means "pure heart," came to Canada from Israel in 2005 after their spiritual leader, Rabbi Shlomo Elbarnes, was granted refugee status here.

(BlackburnNews.com)

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