A 38-year-old man who ran a website called Our Unique Family about the nine adopted boys he claimed to be raising as Chassidic Jews as a single father is facing charges that he sexually abused his adopted kids and other children.
The man now goes by Chaim Nissim Cohen but was born Jeffrey Lujan Vejil.
On Feb. 24, prosecutors “outlined a hellish life for the adoptive children” of Chaim Nissim Cohen, which “conflicted with Cohen’s portrayal of a tight-knit, pious family on social media,” the Houston Chronicle reported. “Each of his court appearances, including Friday’s, has revealed new, alleged layers of deceit.”
“Behind all that is excessive abuse,” said Janna Oswald, chief prosecutor for the division of crimes against children in Houston’s Harris County. “Grooming is not just of a child, it’s of the people around the children and the community.”
One of the man’s adopted kids discussed the alleged abuse on a Feb. 1 podcast.
“Cohen has appeared in court in a wheelchair and has claimed that he has a terminal illness,” per the Chronicle. “The state of his health, like many things in his life, has been questioned by prosecutors.”
Writing on Twitter, one user, who identifies as a rabbi, called Cohen a “fake Chassidic Jew” and said that he was suspicious upon seeing Cohen’s social-media accounts. “Among other things, wrong rebbe on the wall. Payos start at (the) wrong place. They had weird books in their shelves,” wrote Pesach Lattin. “Sad story.”
One TikTok post of Cohen’s that JNS reviewed shows an image of the Lubavitcher Rebbe on a wall, although Cohen and the children appear to dress in a manner that suggests a different Orthodox Chassidic affiliation. Several videos appear to show secular books, alongside religious ones.