Rabbi arrested for alleged child sexual abuse


Rabbi Mendel Tevel was arrested Tuesday afternoon at the Beverly Hills youth center where he had been working. Authorities were acting on a warrant issued in New York charging the rabbi with criminal sexual acts.

"Mendel Tevel has been accused by many people of being a child molester. It was brought to the attention of Jewish Community Watch," said Ilanit Gluckosky with Jewish Community Watch, an organization that focuses on child abuse prevention.

According to the organization, the charges against Tevel go back to the mid-1990s and as recently as 2004.

The watchdog group reported on four men who accused Tevel of molesting them when they were boys between 6 and 14 years old. Tevel was a youth worker in Brooklyn at the time.

He moved to Los Angeles and had recently been working at the JEM Center, a Jewish youth community center in Beverly Hills.

"No child, no parent, no one has alleged anything against the JEM Center. This involves activities that occurred several years ago in New York City," said Dana Cole, an attorney for the JEM Center.

Jewish Community Watch says it alerted local rabbis about the allegations against Tevel in August.

"Law enforcement told them there was no warrant, there was no criminal investigation, so JEM Center attempted to do due diligence. They were assured by law enforcement that nothing was going on and then they were surprised today at this arrest," said Cole.

The JEM Center's director, Rabbi Hertzel Illulian, is Tevel's father-in-law.

"God will help that it will show that it's all false and will clear up and people will see while we will still continue our good job for the community," said Illulian.

Tevel remained in jail in Beverly Hills Tuesday night, but he is expected to be extradited to New York.

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