Rabbi Chaim Halpern released on bail

By Simon Rocker and Marcus Dysch, February 28, 2013

Rabbi Chaim Halpern and three other Orthodox men in north-west London who were arrested last week have been bailed by police to return later this month.

Rabbi Halpern, who heads the Divrei Chaim Synagogue in Golders Green, was questioned in connection with investigations into alleged sexual assault and perverting the course of justice.

The other three were questioned on suspicion of perverting the course of justice over his arrest.

The four men were released before Shabbat after being arrested early last Wednesday morning.

Rabbi Halpern’s solicitor said that he “categorically denies any allegation of wrongdoing”.

One of the men, Gary Ost, has temporarily stepped down from his role as chief executive of community security group Shomrim while the investigations continue.

Mr Ost said he “vehemently denied” the allegations against him and had fully co-operated with police.

“While these allegations are being investigated and until my name is completely cleared, I reluctantly feel it would be inappropriate for me to remain in my role at this time,” he said.

Meanwhile, a Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations source said that a special Beth Din, set up to investigate complaints about Rabbi Halpern’s marriage counselling sessions for women, would now be “delayed” following the arrests.

Its three rabbinic judges from abroad had been due to return to the UK next week to resume their hearing.

Last updated: 6:45pm, February 28 2013