An Israeli man with a harem of 21 women who bore him 49 children has been charged with enslavement, rape, incest and fraud.
Prosecutors say 60-year-old Goel Ratzon set himself up as an omnipotent, god-like figure who preyed on vulnerable women.
He is said to have created an image of a man who was blessed with supernatural powers and the ability to heal or destroy at will.
According to police Ratzon even fathered some of his own daughters’ children.
He is alleged to have forced most of his wives to have his name tattooed on their bodies and prevented them from contacting relatives.
Several women who identified themselves as Ratzon’s wives appeared in an Israeli TV documentary last year calling him the “Messiah”.
Police had been aware of Ratzon’s activities for years but were unable to act until three of the women made complaints to welfare officials.
They claim they were forced to hand over social security payments while living in poverty-stricken conditions in run-down Tel Aviv apartments.
Ratzon, who has been remanded in custody, denies all the charges levelled against him.