Brooklyn High School Teacher Convicted of Production of Child Pornography
Defendant Targeted Children on Facebook and Convinced Them to Send Sexually Explicit Photos and Videos of Themselves
Earlier today, following a week-long trial, a federal jury in Brooklyn, New York, returned a guilty verdict against Jonathan Deutsch on four counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and 6 counts of attempted sexual exploitation of a minor. Until his arrest, Deutsch was a teacher at Leon M. Goldstein High School for the Sciences. When sentenced by United States District Judge Frederic Block, the defendant faces a minimum sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Michael J. Driscoll, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and Keechant L. Sewell, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the verdicts.
“Jonathan Deutsch connected with young children over the Internet and exploited them for his own sexual gratification. His conduct is criminal and deplorable,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “This Office is committed to vigorously prosecuting individuals who sexually exploit children and to ensuring that they are brought to justice. Today’s conviction should serve as yet another reminder as to the importance of educating our children about the risks of communicating with strangers online.”
“As the evidence presented at trial proved, Deutsch groomed children as young as 10-years-old and enticed them into sending explicit photos of themselves in pursuit of his sexual gratification. Parents and guardians are the best line of defense against Deutsch and predators like him. Have a conversation with your children; talk with them about being safe online, and tell them to ask for help the moment they are asked to do something that doesn't feel right,” stated Assistant Director-in-Charge Driscoll.
“The trust between teachers and young students is vitally important, and violation of that trust by criminal predators is truly reprehensible,” stated NYPD Commissioner Sewell. “This defendant’s appalling actions are a reminder to all parents to closely monitor their child’s online activity, and today’s conviction further proves that the NYPD and our law-enforcement partners will never abate our efforts to keep young people safe. I want to thank the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District, the New York Field Office of the FBI, and every investigator who worked on this important case.”
As proven at trial, beginning in 2016, Deutsch joined Facebook groups through which he identified users who appeared from their profiles to be minors. Deutsch, using two separate Facebook accounts, messaged children in an effort to develop relationships with them. Using one of these accounts, he posed as a 33-year-old teacher from New York, and using the other, he posted as a 15 year old boy. When chatting with children, he showered them with compliments and pretended to be their boyfriend. Deutsch enticed the children to engage in sexually explicit conduct and then to send him videos and photos of that conduct. He also sent minors sexual photos that he represented to be of himself. Ultimately, Deutsch requested and received sexually explicit images or videos from at least four children, ranging in age from 10 to 16 years old.
The evidence at trial included testimony from law enforcement witnesses who examined Deutsch’s computer and three of the children who the defendant exploited, as well as evidence of his internet browser history, and Facebook records, including his messenger communications with victims and potential victims, as well his account information.
This prosecution is part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Department of Justice Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Civil Rights Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Megan E. Farrell and Rachel Shanies are in charge of the prosecution.
Brooklyn, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 18-CR-502 (FB)