Gill Hoffman, 61, said that he had met Mr. Daskal when both men were in their 20s. Mr. Hoffman said that when his car stalled, Mr. Daskal showed up with jumper cables.
“I know him as a nice guy, a charming guy, a helpful guy,” Mr. Hoffman said.
Mr. Hoffman said he believed that Mr. Daskal’s troubles began when he tried to help a local family only to have it turn into a false accusation of abuse.
“This is what happens when you try to help too many people,” he said.
The accusations that Mr. Daskal abused the girl first emerged in May 2018, when he was arrested by sex crimes investigators for the New York Police Department.
At the time, he was charged with statutory rape, sexual abuse and other crimes. The federal charges against him include coercing a minor to engage in illicit sexual conduct and transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.
Echoing the state case, the federal indictment accuses Mr. Daskal of abusing the girl over several months in 2017. The federal charges stem from the government’s contention that the illegal activity was not confined to Brooklyn but also involved crossing state lines.
After taking the victim in at his Borough Park home, the indictment says, Mr. Daskal groomed her for sex and then assaulted her repeatedly, both in Brooklyn and at his vacation house in the Catskills, in South Fallsburg, N.Y. To get there, prosecutors said, he traveled through New Jersey.
In October 2017, prosecutors said, the victim moved to Chicago to attend a new school. While she was there, Mr. Daskal stayed in touch with her via text message and Skype, asking that she pose nude for him during their video chats and also that she send him nude photographs.