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Rabbi pleads not guilty to child sex abuse allegation

Rabbi Mendel Tevel is shown in this file image from the Jewish Community Watch. Tevel was arrested Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013, in Beverly Hills and faces charges of child sexual abuse. (Jewish Community Watch)

November 8, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
A rabbi with ties to Beverly Hills accused of child sex abuse in New York pleaded not guilty on Friday.

Rabbi Mendel Tevel, 30, was arrested in October on a charge of committing a sexual criminal act. According to a grand jury indictment out of Brooklyn, the rabbi is accused of performing an oral sex act on one victim several times in the past. The alleged incidents occurred about eight years ago when Tevel was 22 and the victim was 14.

Although only one victim is mentioned in the indictment, authorities are investigating other possible allegations as well.

Community members say Tevel has worked at JEM, a Jewish youth center in Beverly Hills, for the past two years. His father-in-law, Rabbi Hertzel Illulian, is the center's director.

Prosecutors requested bail to be set Friday at $250,000, but the judge lowered it to $100,000. An official bail hearing is slated for sometime in the afternoon.