BEVERLY HILLS (CBSLA.com) — The arrest of a rabbi on sex abuse charges in a New York case has shaken those at the Jewish community center where he worked.
KNX 1070’s Ed Mertz reported that Menachem Tewel will go back to New York following his arrest at the JEM Community Center on Santa Monica Boulevard.
Tewel, 30, was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon on an arrest warrant charging sexual abuse against four boys between 1995 and 2004.
“He will waive extradition and try to get back to New York as swiftly as possible,” attorney Dana Cole said.
JEM Community Center founder and director Rabbi Hertzel Illulian, who is also Tewel’s father-in-law, said the allegations were false.
“Everybody knows he’s innocent and a fantastic person,” Illulian said. “We have thousands of families and people who know him and know what he does, and nobody believes any of these things are true.”
Members of the Jewish Community Watch, a group whose mission is to make sure children stay safe from predators, said they found out Tewel had been accused of child molestation in New York and had warned Illulian about his son-in-law’s history.
“He was living in New York, people in New York were aware of the fact that he had molested children, people in Los Angeles did not know this. He came out here, I guess, thinking he could just start over,” said Ilanit Gluckowsky.
The indictment remains sealed until after Tewel is extradited, officials with the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office said. All of the boys Tewel is accused of abusing are now adults, according to the Jewish Journal.
Beverly Hills police Lt. Lincoln Hoshino said there were no other charges pending in California.
“We conducted an investigation back in August and September of this year; we were unable to locate any victims,” Hoshino said. “We did a site inspection, and did not find any criminal activity.”
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