By Jared Sichel (Jewish Journal)
October 29, 2013
Mendel Tevel, a local rabbi and youth worker accused by multiple people in the New York Jewish community of sexual abuse, was arrested Tuesday, October 29, at the JEM Center in Beverly Hills.
The arrest was reported to the Jewish Journal by Lt. Lincoln Hoshino, a spokesman for the Beverly Hills Police Department. Calls to Tevel’s cell phone and to the JEM Center were not answered Tuesday afternoon.
The arrest warrant was issued for a Menachem “Mendel” Tewel by authorities in Brooklyn, N.Y., and was signed with an order for extradition by a Kings County judge, according to Hoshino. The man known as Mendel Tevel worked at the JEM center, and, according to Hoshino, despite the difference in spelling of the name is the same as the man arrested.
“He’s in custody,” Hoshino told the Journal Tuesday afternoon. “We have an outstanding warrant for his arrest charging criminal sexual acts out of New York.”
In August, the Journal reported on four men who said they had been victims of Tevel when they were minors (ranging from ages 6 to 14 at the time of the alleged abuse). They claimed Tevel performed acts that included spanking on bare skin, to sexually suggestive rubbing. The instances described by those who spoke with the Journal took place as early as around 1995 and as recently as around 2004.
Two Los Angeles residents interviewed for that article, both of whom asked that their names not be made public, identified Tevel as recently working at the JEM Center, a Jewish youth community center in Beverly Hills.
Prior to publication of the August story, Tevel himself did not respond to multiple phone calls to his personal cell phone, nor to voicemails, text messages and e-mails from the Journal over several days. Searches of both civil and criminal public records at the time did not reveal any convictions, or any closed or pending charges against Tevel in either New York or California.
In late September, when a Journal reporter visited the JEM Center to see if Tevel was still working there, Tevel came to the front desk and then walked into an office when the reporter identified himself.
As of Tuesday afternoon, officials in the NYPD and Brooklyn district attorney’s office could not confirm that an arrest warrant had been issued for Tevel.
“We wouldn't have it in our system yet,” said Sandy Silverstein, an official in the Brooklyn DA’s office. “It usually takes a while before it gets through our system.”
John Grimpel, a spokesman for NYPD said Tevel’s name likely would not yet be in its system, “if he hadn’t been arrested here in New York.”
Hoshino, when asked what BHPD will do next with Tevel, said, “He’s going to be extradited to New York.”