NBC 4 New York
Yoel Malik, a 33-year-old employee at a Brooklyn religious school, allegedly abused as many as four boys who ranged in ages from 13 to 15 years old, according to prosecutors. Ida Siegal reports.
A 33-year-old employee at a Brooklyn religious school was arrested early Thursday for allegedly sexually abusing three teenage boys over the last 10 months, police said.
Yoel Malik, who police say was a former teacher and part owner of the now-closed Borough Park school the victims attended, was charged with 12 counts of sexual abuse, four counts of criminal sexual act, 11 counts of endangering the welfare of a child and one count of forcible touching.
Police said the alleged abuse occurred between May 2012 and January, and that the victims and the suspect knew each other.
Police launched an investigation after an anonymous tip to their sex crimes hotline alleged Malik took a 16-year-old boy to a Brooklyn motel and had sex with him, law enforcement sources say. Those sources said police received additional information during their investigation that the suspect was allegedly involved in other sexual encounters with underage boys.
Four victims have been identified; they are all former students of the school, which authorities believe closed for financial reasons. Sources familiar with the case say investigators believe more victims are likely to come forward.
Sources say some of the most serious allegations came from at least two victims who told police they had sex with Malik on several occasions at Brooklyn motels, inside his car and at a Brooklyn synagogue. One of the boys told police Malik would drive him and another boy home after school and went into the backseat with him on one occasion to have sex, law enforcement sources said.
Police have surveillance video from one Washington Avenue motel where Malik allegedly brought a boy for sex Jan. 18. Law enforcement sources say he rented the room for at least seven hours.
Police plan to extend their investigation to upstate Monticello, where some of the alleged sexual encounters were also reported to have taken place, law enforcement sources said.
Law enforcement sources say Malik admitted to detectives that he had encounters with the boys, but denied having sex with them or giving them alcohol and cigarettes. He also allegedly told detectives the victims made sexual advances toward him, but he refused.
Law enforcement sources also said Malik made statements to detectives indicating he was a victim of sexual abuse when he was 12. Information on an attorney for Malik wasn't immediately available.
A family friend of Malik said the allegations "didn't make any sense."
"He's very good, he's a good guy," said Yoel Indig.
The accusations come amid mounting pressure to report allegations of abuse within Brooklyn's ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, the largest outside Israel, and were reported barely a week after Nechemya Weberman, a respected religious counselor in the same sect, was sentenced to 103 years in prison for sexually abusing a girl.