Prominent patrol leader in NYC Orthodox Jewish community sentenced to 17 years for raping teenager

Oct 11, 2023, 2:55 PM

New York (AP) — The founder of an influential anti-crime group was sentenced to 17 years in prison Wednesday for raping a teenage girl placed in his care as a result of his prominent position in Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community.

Jacob Daskal, 64, pleaded guilty earlier this year to charges in federal court in Brooklyn that he groomed and sexually abused a 15-year-old after she moved in with him and his wife to escape a troubled family situation.

At an emotional sentencing on Wednesday, Daskal begged for forgiveness, expressing his “overwhelming regret” for his actions while dozens of his supporters, including eight of his adult children, sat weeping and praying in the packed courtroom.

At the time of the sexual abuse, Daskal led the Borough Park Shomrim Society, a volunteer crime patrol group with close ties to the New York Police Department. It is one of several private organizations that serve as a de facto police force within the city’s insular Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods.

Daskal was introduced to the girl in 2017 by her relatives, who were seeking guidance from the Shomrim about how to address ongoing family issues. The 15-year-old initially moved in with Daskal and his wife in Brooklyn and was later moved to their summer home in South Fallsburg, New York, roughly three hours north of the city.

In each location, Daskal subjected her to “nightly rape sessions,” according to a statement written by the victim and read aloud in court by a prosecutor, Erin Reid. The teenager initially looked up to Daskal as a “savior and father figure,” the statement said, adding that he violated that trust by convincing her that sex was in her “best interest.”

When she told a friend, Daskal threatened her, according to prosecutors, repeatedly mentioning that he “had police protection and was a ‘big’ guy in the Jewish community.” At one point, he asked her to sign a letter affirming that the sexual abuse was “therapy,” prosecutors alleged.

Daskal was caught after the victim disclosed the abuse to a mentor in 2018, who helped her report it to police.

“The defendant was a man with immense power in his community,” said Brooklyn Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis. “At every stage of this crime the defendant abused that power.”

In his own sentencing memo, Daskal touted his role as founder of the Borough Park Shomrim. He said he enjoyed being the “go-to guy for community members needs and concerns, and the NYPD.”

Shomrim groups operate in several of New York’s Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods, deterring street crimes, responding to distress calls, and acting as liaisons between the city’s police departments and a predominantly Yiddish-speaking population with specific cultural customs.

They have also faced allegations of vigilantism and discriminatory practices against Black residents who live alongside the city’s Orthodox enclaves. For some critics, they are seen as a powerful barrier to reporting sex crimes within the close-knit religious neighborhoods.

“Everything about this case is emblematic of the way the Orthodox community handles sexual abuse more widely,” said Asher Lovy, a director of the group Zaakah, which fights sexual abuse in the Orthodox Jewish community. “I think the only lesson the community learned here is that they have to do a better job of covering it up.”

Before the sentencing, Judge Garaufis appeared to address those in the courtroom, noting that family, friends, and clergy who looked the other way at Daskal’s crimes were “morally at fault” as well.

“I find myself wondering how the defendant’s hideous crime could go on for so long without someone stepping in,” he said. “The community has to take responsibility.”

Outside the courtroom, many who came to support Daskal expressed disgust with the sentence. A scuffle broke out between Daskal’s supporters and an advocate for sexual abuse victims.

An attorney for Daskal declined to comment.

United States News

A helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi suffered a “hard landing” on Sunday, May ...

Associated Press

Helicopter carrying Iran’s hard-line president apparently crashes in foggy, mountainous region

A helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, the country's foreign minister apparently crashed in mountainous Iran on Sunday.

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Child is among 3 dead after Amtrak train hits a pickup truck in upstate New York

NEW YORK (AP) — A child was among the three victims killed when a passenger train hit a pickup truck, officials said. The northbound Amtrak train hit a Dodge truck Friday evening in North Tonawanda, New York, a small town along the Niagara River between Niagara Falls and Buffalo, police said. The victims included a […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

11 hurt after late-night gunfire breaks out in Savannah, Georgia

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Eleven people were treated for injuries after late night gunfire broke out downtown in the tourist-destination city of Savannah. Gunfire was reported shortly before midnight Saturday near Savannah’s popular Ellis Square, police said. It was not clear whether all the injuries stemmed from gunshots. Victims were treated at the scene and […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Power expected to be restored to most affected by deadly Houston storm

HOUSTON (AP) — Houston area residents affected by deadly storms last week that left at least seven dead were finally getting some good news as officials said they expected power to be restored by Sunday evening to a majority of the hundreds of thousands still in the dark and without air conditioning amid hot and […]

5 hours ago

Associated Press

America’s first Black astronaut candidate finally goes to space 60 years later on Bezos rocket

VAN HORN, Texas (AP) — America’s first Black astronaut candidate finally rocketed into space 60 years later, flying with Jeff Bezos’ rocket company on Sunday. Ed Dwight was an Air Force pilot when President John F. Kennedy championed him as a candidate for NASA’s early astronaut corps. But he wasn’t picked for the 1963 class. […]

5 hours ago

Associated Press

Airstrike kills 27 in central Gaza and fighting rages as Israel’s leaders are increasingly divided

DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — An Israeli airstrike killed 27 people in central Gaza, mostly women and children, and fighting with Hamas raged across the north on Sunday as Israel’s leaders aired divisions over who should govern Gaza after the war, now in its eighth month. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces criticism from the […]

11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles



Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.


Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.


Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

Prominent patrol leader in NYC Orthodox Jewish community sentenced to 17 years for raping teenager