Diana Eidson had no idea the man texting her was not who he said he was.
“At first he called himself Isaac Miller,” she said. “Then, it was Isaac Men.”
But his real name is Tarek Mentouri. He's currently awaiting trial on 21 counts in Nashville including rape, kidnapping, criminal impersonation and sexual battery while working as a massage therapist.
“He insisted that he really wanted to give me a massage,” Eidson told 11Alive's Chief Investigator Brendan Keefe. "[Mentouri] wanted to come to my house to do this because he said that his place wasn’t ready yet."
Mentouri had been a licensed massage therapist in Tennessee and Georgia, and most of the sex crimes for which he is indicted allegedly occurred during massages in his home studio in Nashville.
His massage license was revoked by the state of Tennessee after a series of investigative reports by WSMV Channel 4, the NBC affiliate in Nashville. WSMV Chief Investigator Jeremy Finley interviewed several women and filed the series of stories that led to Mentouri’s indictments.
LOCAL POLICE NOT INFORMED:
The court in Nashville allowed Mentouri to move to Metro Atlanta while out on a half-million-dollar bond. He now lives in a condo in Duluth, Georgia owned by his mother.
Duluth Police told The Reveal the department was not informed by the authorities in Tennessee that a man suspected of sex crimes against women would be living here while awaiting trial.
Local police first learned of his case in December, when they were sent to his mother’s apartment by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Someone had texted the word ‘help’ to the GBI from his cell phone. Mentouri claimed it was done in error, and officers left after finding no one in distress.
Mentouri was not required to tell police or anyone else in Georgia that he was moving here, or about the twelve felony and nine misdemeanor charges he’s facing in Tennessee.
He’s wearing a court ordered GPS ankle monitor, but Mentouri’s bond allows him to go anywhere in five counties: Gwinnett, DeKalb, Forsyth, Cobb and Fulton. The Tennessee court would be the entity to enforce any violations of that geo-fence. Local police in Georgia are not involved in tracking him.
In September, Assistant District Attorney Sarah Butler wrote in her motion asking the court to add bond restrictions, “the State is expressly concerned that if the defendant has unfettered access to the internet he will continue this behavior, putting the public at risk.”
Butler added that Mentouri “uses the internet to lure women to his home,” so the court should “ensure that the defendant is unable to lure potential victims to his home via the internet.”
Mentouri’s defense attorney successfully argued that any monitoring software could pick up privileged communications.
The prosecutor later agreed to support Mentouri moving to Metro Atlanta in return for the installation of software to block certain sites on Mentouri’s devices. The blocked websites and apps include Craigslist, Facebook, Instagram, and OKCupid.
Two months later, high school teacher Diana Eidson would meet Mentouri on the social media app, Nextdoor, which was not banned by the court.
"SETTING UP MY HOME MASSAGE STUDIO AGAIN":
Eidson started exchanging texts and private messages with Tarek Mentouri after she saw a post in the Singles 30 to 50 group on Nextdoor.
“I just moved to Duluth and am looking to connect with people for either friendship or dating,” Mentouri wrote, according to screen grabs now on file with the court in Tennessee.
In those court exhibits, Mentouri is shown to have texted Eidson, “Do you like massages? I usually prefer to give than receive.”
Eidson said she was looking for a platonic friend, but Mentouri kept asking if he could “practice” massage on her.
“My friends didn’t mind that I’d use their bodies to satisfy my massage bug, lol,” he wrote to her.
Another text now on file with the court said, “I’m in the process of setting up my home massage studio again.”
Eidson says Mentouri, still posing as Isaac Men, was very “erotic” and wanted to come to her house to massage her. She said she agreed to meet him in public place.
Mentouri showed up at a coffee shop wearing a face mask with a picture of his own smiling face printed on it. Eidson said it reminded her of a scary clown.
“Frankly I was so taken aback that I almost just turned around and walked out," she said. "And now, I wish I had."
After exchanging pleasantries, Eidson says she cut off all communication with him.
“When I ghosted him and stopped answering the messages, he asked me a couple of times after that could he please give me a massage,” Eidson said.
"DEFENDANT HAS NOT VIOLATED CONDITION OF RELEASE":
Eidson heard from a group moderator that Isaac Men was using several different names and believed he was actually Tarek Mentouri, currently out on bond for alleged sex crimes.
Eidson went to Duluth Police.
A lieutenant with the Duluth Police Department sent screen shots of the texts and Nextdoor messages to prosecutors in Nashville.
“Defendant continues to engage in predatory behavior,” prosecutors wrote in their motion to revoke Mentouri’s bond, using Eidson’s texts as exhibits.
Mentouri’s defense attorney countered that nothing in his bond conditions “prohibit the defendant from engaging in consensual, friendly or adult conversation, or discussing massage.”
The judge agreed with the defense and denied the state’s motion to revoke his bond in January.
Because Mentouri’s massage license was revoked by Tennessee, and he surrendered his Georgia massage license, he can’t charge for massages.
But nothing stops him from meeting new women or offering to give them free massages while awaiting trial.
The Reveal wouldn’t have known about Tarek Mentouri or his charges in Nashville if he did not contact us to do an interview.
He told us his name was Isaac Men, and he had a profitable hobby sending demand letters to robocallers.
RELATED: How robocallers get away with it
Chief Investigator Brendan Keefe recently investigated the limits of holding robocallers accountable, so he responded to Isaac Men’s tip. We had no idea who he really was.
The man offered to demonstrate the process of using the Telephone Consumer Protection Act to force robocallers to send him up to $1500 per call.
Keefe ran a basic background check on Isaac Men, but didn’t find a record of anyone with that name anywhere in the United States. A Google search gave too many results because of the word ‘men.’
Keefe asked the tipster to send proof of his claims, and Isaac Men sent pictures of himself smiling holding the checks. A quick search verified that the techniques he was describing to get money from robocallers were indeed valid.
INSIDE THE SUSPECT'S APARTMENT:
Our chief investigator went to the address Isaac Men gave us for the interview.
The man’s home office and computer were in his bedroom, so that’s where Keefe set up a few cameras for the demonstration.
Keefe had no idea that the man was wearing a court-ordered GPS ankle monitor under his suit pants, just above a pair of fuzzy Homer Simpson slippers.
The apartment was a cool 58 degrees, and Isaac Men asked Keefe several questions about fixing the heater. Eventually the man turned on his electric stove and oven in an attempt to heat the apartment during the sit-down interview in the sparsely furnished living room.
After the interview, Keefe was left with more questions and a strange gut feeling about Isaac Men.
ISAAC MEN IS REALLY TAREK MENTOURI:
Keefe took a closer look at the photos Isaac Men had sent him, showing the checks. The names of the robocallers were blurred, which would make sense if they required non-disclosure agreements as part of the settlements, but why was the payee name also blurred out?
When talking about the heater issues, Isaac Men had told Keefe that he owned the condo.
So Keefe checked property tax records to see the name of the true owner. It was an older woman with the last name Mentouri. Keefe then checked public records for the woman’s possible relatives.
Tarek Isaak Mentouri was the owner’s son. That’s similar to ‘Isaac Men.’
Keefe did a full background check on Tarek Mentouri. He found the revoked massage license in Tennessee, which led Keefe to pull the records from the Tennessee Department of Health. Those showed the 2020 state investigation into allegations of sex assaults during massage sessions.
A simple Google search then led to the series of investigative reports filed by WSMV’s Jeremy Finley, descriptions of an episode of MTV Catfish on which Mentouri appeared in 2015 and a 2020 episode of Dr. Phil.
Mentouri had reached out to the Dr. Phil show in late 2020, hoping to prove his innocence after his massage therapist license was revoked.
Mentouri admitted to Dr. Phil that he fabricated a photo duplicating himself wearing different clothes and claimed he had an identical twin. He told Dr. Phil it was a joke.
“But then you invent this twin and say ‘he’s the horny one,’” Dr. Phil asked Mentouri on the show. “Well if I did have a twin, he’d be the horny one, because I’m not over-sexualized and this is not me,” Mentouri responded.
Dr. Phil also asked Mentouri about faking his own death “in a bid to escape the glare of the media.”
Keefe also found obituaries online describing a dead Tarek Mentouri and his “heartbroken” loved ones. When I asked Mentouri about fake obituaries, he said, "I didn't make them," and shortly thereafter one of the two links vanished.
One of Mentouri’s accusers also appeared on Dr. Phil.
When Dr. Phil asked why she was willing to speak publicly, the woman answered, “this is a national platform, so if he does jump jurisdictions, it will at least reach more people.”
"WHO IS TAREK":
After finding the true identity of Isaac Men, Keefe asked if he’d be willing to do another interview to answer new questions.
For safety, Keefe decided to do the interview over Zoom.
Keefe directly asked him, “who is Tarek?”
“That’s me,” he answered.”
When Keefe asked if Mentouri had given him a fake name, he said he goes by his middle name.
“But your last name isn’t ‘Men.’ It’s Mentouri, isn’t it?,” Keefe asked.
Mentouri said it’s an abbreviation.
When Keefe asked him about the 21 criminal counts for which he’s currently awaiting trial in Tennessee, Mentouri’s phone started tilting toward the ceiling so his face moved further down the screen on the Zoom call.
Mentouri then put his fingers in front of the lens, concealing his face.
He didn’t end the Zoom call. He said he couldn’t answer questions about his pending charges, but also turned the tables and asked a few questions of his own.
Mentouri asked why 11Alive doesn’t have a policy in place to ask interview subjects if they have any pending charges.
“Do you think that’s a good thing to just politely ask a subject?" He questioned. "Because if it could be a deal breaker, then maybe ask on the front end, politely, ‘hey, do you have any pending charges or anything that would show up on a background check?"
Keefe replied that he always does a background check, but it’s difficult when someone gives us a fake name. Mentouri said he didn’t give us his real last name for a reason.
“I didn’t want people cyber-stalking me," he told Keefe.
“Bigger concern for a female reporter”
Mentouri called Keefe right after the Zoom interview “to apologize.”
Keefe recorded the call. Mentouri suggested we not run the story because of “the possibility that you might get criticism from people for not doing minimal research,” he said.
At one point, Keefe said, “I failed on this because I ended up putting myself in a vulnerable position. Just journalistically, let alone personal safety.”
Mentouri answered, “you’re a man. I mean, you don’t think I would have harmed, potentially harmed you. I don’t have any allegations that would imply that I would harm you in any way, or that your safety would be in danger certainly. Regardless of even if these accusations are true — which I’m not saying they are — but even if they were.”
Mentouri told Keefe he moved to Atlanta for a “fresh start” while awaiting trial.
He sent several text messages to Keefe asking that we limit use of his name and photo in this story, so it won’t show up high in Google searches. Keefe told him we would follow our standard practice as journalists.
Tarek Mentouri’s next court hearing is set for May, when a trial date could be set.
Until then, he’s living in Duluth, Georgia.
The Reveal is an investigative show exposing inequality, injustice, and ineptitude created by people in power throughout Georgia and across the country.