Table tennis star faces sex-case retrial

December 4, 2008

A top Jewish table tennis player has been found guilty of asking a teenage protegee to email him pictures of her naked, and faces a possible re-trial over sex abuse allegations.

Gary Tendler, 35, a former champion player for Maccabi GB, was released on bail after jurors at Snaresbrook Crown Court failed to reach a verdict over six charges that he engaged in sex acts with the girl, who was 15 at the time.

Tendler, a married father of two, admitted performing sex acts with the girl and receiving nude pictures via email, but denied all charges on the grounds that he did not know the girl was underage and the images were not indecent.

Tendler, of Brentwood, Essex, denied six charges of sexual activity with a child and was convicted unanimously of a single count of possessing indecent photographs of a child.

He had exchanged mobile phone numbers with the girl after meeting her at a tournament in Lincolnshire in March last year, jurors were told.
Tendler arranged to meet her at a tournament in Harlow, Essex, where they performed sex acts in his BMW.

He also indulged in sexual activities with her in an underground table tennis practice area beneath the investment bank where he worked and a toilet in a London restaurant.

Tendler, a human resources officer for Dutch bank ABN AMRO of Liverpool Street, lost his £150,000-a-year job after he was arrested in October last year.

Police found 12 photographs of the girl posing naked or in her underwear on his computer, the court heard.

Prosecutor Sylvia Booker said: “The defendant is one of the top ranked players in England whilst the girl is considered one of the country’s elite youngsters.

“They met on a number of occasions. On each occasion they would engage in some form of sex act.”

The girl said she was flattered by his attentions but said she was treated “like a sex object” by Tendler, who told her she had separated from his wife. She said: “I didn’t know until afterwards that he is married with a wife and two children.”

She said she became depressed and tried to kill herself twice by overdosing on painkillers.

Tendler insisted she told him she was 16 and sent him “flirtatious” text messages before meeting at a Harlow tournament where she was playing the following month.

He admitted that he asked her to email him nude pictures but, asked if he would have embarked on a sexual relationship if he had known she was 15, he replied: “Absolutely not.”

Last updated: 11:51am, December 9 2008