(JTA) — Police in Brooklyn arrested the head of a private Orthodox Jewish security patrol for raping a teenage girl.
Jacob Daskal, who started the Shomrim group of Borough Park nearly 30 years ago, was arrested Thursday over allegations that he had had sexual intercourse with a 16-year-old between August and November of 2017, according to the The Forward.
The paper did not succeed in contacting Daksal for a reaction, it reported.
“Obviously, it’s disturbing,” local state Assemblyman Dov Hikind told the Forward. “I’m just digesting it. My phone hasn’t stopped with the messages. I’m in my office. He lives down the block here.”
Daskal is the central figure in the Shomrim, also known as the Brooklyn South Safety Patrol. The organization, made up largely of local Hasidic business owners in Borough Park, patrols Borough Park in marked cars and is a powerful force in the neighborhood. Daskal was one of the original “Bakery Boys,” young Hasidic men who formed the group with police support in the mid-1990s, according to The Forward.
Since then, Daskal and the Shomrim have cultivated close ties to the local precinct.
The Shomrim has drawn increased scrutiny in recent years. In 2017, a former leader of the patrol named Shaya Lichtenstein was sentenced to federal prison for bribing police to speed up the process of issuing gun licenses. In 2016, the city funds that substantially support the Shomrim were frozen following the arrest of Lichntenstein.
The Shomrim’s executive director, Mark Katz, told The Forward that he had no immediate statement about the arrest.