CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — The man tied to Temple Beth El synagogue in Charlotte accepted a plea deal to sexual exploitation charges in a courtroom on Monday.

Queen City News was in the courtroom.

(Evan Wilkoff leaves the courthouse after pleading guilty to third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor.)

Evan Wilkoff was due in court Monday and his lawyers accepted the plea deal for one count of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor while the other charges were dropped.

According to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office website, he was arrested in March 2021.

The deal was for a 5-15 month suspended sentence with probation for 24 months. He also has to register as a sex offender for 30 years with no contact with any minors with the exception of any grandchildren while having an adult present.

Later Thursday, Temple Beth El released a statement in regard to Wilkoff, who they say was a past president of the congregation.

Temple Beth El learned of the case when Evan was initially charged in 2021. He was immediate past president at the time and resigned from the board and other leadership positions after notifying us about the charges against him.

Although the news story emphasized Evan’s leadership at Temple, our congregation has no bearing in this case. We have never been contacted by the authorities involved. Our Board, with the assistance of legal counsel, reviewed the situation as presented and found that this was a private matter, and there was no connection between what Evan was accused of doing and his involvement at TBE. Nor have we heard from any Temple Beth El family with concerns that may be related to the circumstances of this case or any other behavior during the tenure of his
leadership. Throughout these difficult circumstances, the congregation’s leaders have been diligent about staying informed of developments and keeping the well-being of the congregation at the forefront.

This is a very sad circumstance, especially for the victims and for Evan’s family. Judaism strives for justice for victims, and we offer our prayers for everyone affected by the acts that give rise to this case. In every instance Judaism seeks justice that is appropriate to a particular case and to the specific issues at hand. Ascertaining justice and appropriate punishment is the role of judge and jury. As we are guided by these Jewish teachings, we are also reminded of those pertaining to Lashon Hara (gossip) and the avoidance of spreading rumors out of consideration for a fellow congregational family and the community.