Mendel Tevel, who was arrested in Beverly Hills in Oct. 2013 and then extradited to Brooklyn on charges of sexual abuse stemming from an Apr. 2007 incident, pleaded guilty in a New York courtroom before Judge Elizabeth Foley on Apr. 24 to two counts of criminal sexual acts in the third degree, according to Lupe Todd, a spokeswoman for the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office.
In Aug. 2013, the Jewish Journal published an investigative report on Tevel—who is now 31 or 32—in which four of his alleged victims detailed apparent instances of sexual abuse that ranged from about 1995 to about 2004. The ages of the alleged victims ranged from 6 to 14. Allegations against Tevel first became public in October 2012, when Meyer Seewald, the 26-year-old founder of Jewish Community Watch, listed him on the group’s “Wall of Shame”—a website that spotlights people it considers sexual predators within Orthodox communities—after multiple victims had approached him.
Following a sealed grand jury indictment in New York, the Brooklyn D.A.’s office charged Tevel in Oct. 2013 with sexual abuse of one minor, at which point he was arrested in Beverly Hills and held in a Los Angeles County jail for more than a week, then was extradited on Nov. 7 to Brooklyn. He pleaded not guilty to 37 counts of sexual abuse—most were either first-degree or third-degree—and was released on $100,000 bail.
On Apr. 24, after agreeing to a plea bargain with the prosecutor, Tevel pleaded guilty to only two counts of a “criminal sexual act in the third degree,” which, as described by the New York penal code, constitutes anal or oral sex with someone who is either under 17 or is otherwise incapable of providing legal consent. At the time of the incident, Tevel was either 23 or 24 years old. The Brooklyn D.A.’s office said that because the crime was sexual in nature, it couldn’t share more information on the case, including the victim’s identity.
Tevel is the son-in-law of Rabbi Hertzel Illulian, the founder and director of the JEM youth center in Beverly Hills, where Tevel used to work and where Beverly Hills police arrested him in 2013. Tevel married Illulian’s daughter, Bracha, in 2012.
Tevel is expected to appear in court again on June 8 for sentencing by Judge Foley. According to New York guidelines, he could be given from 16 months to up to four years in prison or as little as no jail time, which could be with or without probation.
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