Borough Park

Founder of Anti-Crime Patrol Accused of Coercing Teen to Engage in Sexual Conduct

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What to Know

  • The founder of the anti-crime patrol Shomrim Society in Borough Park was arrested on charges he allegedly coerced a 15-year-old to engage in sexual conduct, among other crimes, according to federal prosecutors.
  • Jacob Daskal, 62, was arrested Thursday morning in Brooklyn pursuant to a federal indictment charging him with coercing a 15-year-old minor to engage in illicit sexual conduct, transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and travelling with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, federal prosecutors say. 
  • Daskal is the founder of the anti-crime patrol Shomrim Society in Borough Park. Patrol members cooperate with the police and wear jackets or vests issued by the department. Their shield looks very similar to the NYPD's.

The founder of the anti-crime patrol Shomrim Society in Borough Park was arrested on charges he allegedly coerced a 15-year-old to engage in sexual conduct, among other crimes, according to federal prosecutors.

Jacob Daskal, 62, was arrested Thursday morning in Brooklyn pursuant to a federal indictment charging him with coercing a 15-year-old minor to engage in illicit sexual conduct, transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and travelling with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, federal prosecutors say. 

If convicted of the charges, Daskal faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years’ imprisonment and a maximum of life in prison.

"The defendant abused his position of power in the Orthodox Jewish community to groom a vulnerable 15-year-old victim for a sexual relationship," prosecutors alleged. "The defendant used false promises of love and serious threats to carry out that relationship with a victim over several months and across state lines."

According to court documents, between August and November 2017, Daskal, who was then 59 years old, allegedly engaged in a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl whom he took into his home in Brooklyn, where he groomed her for sex.

During that summer, Daskal allegedly engaged in sexual relations with the girl primarily at his residence and at his summer home in South Fallsburg, New York.

"Throughout the abuse, the defendant regularly told the victim that he loved her. He also threatened the victim not to tell anyone about their sexual relationship," federal prosecutors said in court documents.

The court documents go on to allege that in October 2017, the victim moved to Chicago to attend a new school and live with another family. While the victim was in Chicago, Daskal allegedly communicated with her via text message and over Skype video chat. Prosecutors say he requested that she pose nude for him during their video chats and send him nude photographs as well.

Subsequently, on Nov. 5, 2017, Daskal allegedly traveled by plane to Chicago to visit the victim and brought her to a hotel room he had booked where he engaged in sexual intercourse and oral sex with the girl, prosecutors say.

Over the course the alleged abuse, Daskal was the founder and chief of the Borough Park Shomrim Society, a position in the community which led the victim to feel threatened when he told her not to tell anyone about their sexual relationship, prosecutors say.

The Shomrim Society in Borough Park is an anti-crime patrol organization. Patrol members cooperate with the police and wear jackets or vests issued by the department. Their shield looks very similar to the NYPD's.

The mission of the Shomrim includes stopping criminal activity and locating missing people. In many neighborhoods, its members are the first call - not law enforcement. The group has about 150 members who are all required to volunteer at least one night a month. Dispatchers take hotline calls and send out patrols. Volunteers pay for their own gas. Expenses like office rent and two-way radios are funded by donations with some support from local elected officials.

"A man who founded an organization aimed at creating a safer community should know the difference between right and wrong," the head of the FBI's New York bureau said.

In May 2018, according to court documents, NYPD officers arrested Daskal. Following his arrest, he was indicted by a Kings County Grand Jury on several charges, including rape in the third degree and was released on bail on May 11, 2018. That case is currently pending in Kings County Supreme Court.

A grand jury in the Eastern District of New York returned the instant indictment on Feb. 26, 2021 and was subsequently arrested Thursday morning. It wasn't immediately clear why Daskal's case was taken over by federal prosecutors.

Daskal was virtually arraigned Thursday afternoon and subsequently released.

"Mr. Daskal is grateful that the Court ordered his release today over the government’s objection.  Mr. Daskal has been fighting these same charges in State court over the last three years and will continue to do so now.  He denies any inappropriate sexual relationship with the alleged victim," Daskal's defense attorney, Henry Mazurek, said in a statement to News 4 New York.

This is not the first time a member of the Brooklyn Shomrim was charged with a crime. In 2016, another member was charged with bribery and conspiracy after federal officials said he was caught on wiretap bragging that he used his connections in the NYPD to obtain more than 150 gun licenses for people who wouldn't otherwise qualify for them.

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