Florida Attorney Held for Fondling Boy Receives Bail

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Pinellas, Florida, Attorney Robert Tankel had been held without bail from Tuesday to Friday last week on charges of fondling a boy at a baseball stadium, though there are no witnesses except the accuser. Ultimately, bail was set at $100,000 on Friday by Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Thane Covert, reports Bay News9. The friends and colleagues of Tankel, however, claim him to be a great guy with impressive personal integrity.

While Tankel's attorney emphasized at the bail hearing that Tankel should be released on his own recognizance since there were no witnesses to the alleged touching, the state objected. Assistant State Attorney Kate Alexander referred to a supposedly incriminating statement made by Tankel where he told the match manager at the baseball game that he's a "touchy feely guy." That, according to the state, corroborates the victim's statement that "he pinched his butt and it felt like electricity."

Tankel is accused of fondling the 9-year-old boy during a Big Brothers Big Sisters outing. He was arrested for lewd and lascivious molestation after the boy's mother informed the authorities. According to the arrest affidavit Tankel had rubbed the boy's thigh and also rubbed his genitals over clothing on June 17. The next day, the boy's mother called the police.

Tankel is a well-known lawyer in Pinellas, and since 2013 he has represented more than 50 different condo associations and homeowners in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.

Tankel's arrest leaves many questions unanswered as he has no prior criminal charges against him, and his attorney said that the boy was not under Tankel's charge in the outing. In fact, Tampa Bay Times reports, Foster, one of the attorneys representing Tankel, said he had conversed with the witness, who was in charge of the boy as his Big Brother. And, Foster said, "That gentleman said that he never saw anything inappropriate, as alleged here … and he was never (more) than 10 feet away from Mr. Tankel."

Tankel is married for 30 years and has two sons and a daughter. Two of his children are studying in law school.

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