Arrest of Shomrim president latest in string of brushes with law
Jacob Daskal was charged with repeatedly raping a 16-year-old girl
The rape arrest of the leader of the Shomrim Safety Patrol is just the latest incident in which members of the politically connected volunteer watchdog group have been in trouble with the law.
Jacob Daskal, 59, president of Borough Park Shomrim, was taken into custody Thursday afternoon at his 46th Street home and charged with raping a 16-year-old girl on several occasions between August and November of 2017. Daskal is facing more than 10 years in jail on the multi-count indictment, which includes child endangerment.
Borough Park Shomrim, which takes it’s name from the Hebrew word meaning to guard or protect, is one of four chapters dispatching volunteers to patrol in Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn. Shomrim is also firmly implanted in Williamsburg, Flatbush and Crown Heights.
Daskal’s rape case is not the first time Shomrim members have been arrested.
In 2016, Alex Lichtenstein, a Shomrim patrol supervisor, was nabbed on federal bribery and conspiracy charges in connection with a police corruption case. Lichtenstein, 44, offered money to cops to expedite the granting of gun permits and then turned around and sold those permits to his Borough Park associates for as much as $18,000 each.
He also admitted to a $6,000 payoff to a cop to prevent the officer from talking about the gun permit scheme.
Lichtenstein’s case was part of a major NYPD bribery scandal that engulfed several top Brooklyn cops, including Deputy Chief Eric Rodriguez, the former commander of the 68th Precinct in Bay Ridge, and Deputy Inspector James Grant, who once served as the commanding officer at the 72nd Precinct in Sunset Park.
Lichtenstein went on trial in 2017 and was found guilty. Judge Sidney Stein sentenced him to 32 months in prison. The New York Post reported that federal prosecutors had pushed for a tougher sentence but that Stein took Lichtenstein’s record of community service into consideration when imposing the prison term.
Lichtenstein was also ordered to pay a $20,000 fine.
In 2013, five men who identified themselves as members of a Shomrim group in Williamsburg were arrested after they allegedly assaulted a 22-year-old black man they took for a car vandalism suspect while they were on patrol. Shomrim denied that the men belonged to their group.
Daskal has donated thousands of dollars to political candidates in Borough Park over the past several years.
He has given close to $9,000 to Assemblymember Dov Hikind since 2004 and has donated a total of $4,500 to state Sen. Simcha Felder since 2007. He also gave $1,000 to Bill de Blasio’s campaign for public advocate in 2009.
On Friday, Borough Park residents expressed shock at Daskal’s arrest and talked about their admiration for the work done by Shomrim volunteers.
“I don’t believe he is capable of doing what they say he did,” said one woman pushing a baby stroller along 48th Street. The woman said she didn’t know Daskal personally but that she looked up to Shomrim.
Another woman, waiting for a bus on 18th Avenue, said Shomrim does an outstanding job of keeping the neighborhood safe. “And they’re volunteers. They get no money for what they’re doing,” she added.
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