‘He’s so dangerous’ | Victims react to former massage therapist’s jail sentence
Tarek Mentouri’s plea deal could allow him to be back on the street in two years.
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Metro Atlanta women who feel violated by a former massage therapist say Tarek Mentouri’s punishment just isn’t enough.
Earlier this week, Mentouri pleaded guilty in a Tennessee courtroom to three felony counts of sexual battery, two misdemeanor assault/provocative contact charges, and one misdemeanor charge of criminal impersonation. As part of the plea deal, Mentouri, who was accused by 19 Tennessee women of sex crimes, will be eligible for consideration of early release from prison after serving 30% of his six-year sentence. That means he could be back on the streets in two years.
“That is a light sentence,” said Dr. Diana Eidson, a metro Atlanta teacher who met Mentouri earlier this year. “I hope he’s not released early. He’s so dangerous!”
While awaiting trial, a judge allowed Mentouri to move to Gwinnett County to take care of his sick mother. Over the last year, three Duluth women reported troubling behavior. The most recent accused him of stalking her and messaging her on Facebook, a website a judge had previously banned him from using.
Mentouri’s massage license was revoked by the state of Tennessee after a series of reports by sister station WSMV’s chief investigator Jeremy Finley, who talked with more than a dozen women who accused Mentouri of “sexual misconduct” including rape, sexual battery, and kidnapping.
Mentouri’s most serious charge, rape, was dismissed as part of the plea deal.
When asked why the rape charge was dismissed, Davidson County, Tennessee, Assistant District Attorney Sarah Sarah Wolfson Butler emailed a statement that read, “We are very pleased with the outcome and knowing that this sexual predator admits to his actions. Our office fought vigorously for every victim in this case. Ultimately, we have to weigh the evidentiary strength of each case and a large part of that assessment is victim cooperation. We deeply respect and appreciate the patience and support of the many victims in this case. Thanks to their efforts, this predator is off the streets.”
Up until Tuesday’s hearing, Mentouri has always denied the women’s claims. When asked why Mentouri changed his denial, his attorney, Joseph Morrisey, had no comment.
Mentouri is already in the downtown detention center after a judge found he had violated his bond after being accused of stalking by an Atlanta woman.
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