School Occupational Therapist Charged With Sexual Exploitation Of A Child And Receipt And Distribution Of Child Pornography
Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that EFREM ZELONY-MINDELL was sentenced to 90 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer for distribution of child pornography.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in related court proceedings:
From April 2022 to December 2022, ZELONY-MINDELL communicated with two undercover Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) agents on an encrypted messaging service. In the conversations, ZELONY-MINDELL repeatedly expressed in graphic and unambiguous terms their desire to engage in sexual activity with minor children and sent the undercover agents numerous images and videos containing child pornography.
In conversations with one of the undercover agents who was posing as the father of a nine-year-old boy, ZELONY-MINDELL made clear that they wanted to engage in sexual activity with the purported child. ZELONY-MINDELL and the undercover agent discussed a plan to meet for the purpose of ZELONY-MINDELL engaging in sexual activity with the child. When told by the undercover agent that the child would be “knocked out a little bit” on sleep medication during the planned sexual activity, ZELONY-MINDELL agreed to have sex with the drugged child.
ZELONY-MINDELL and the undercover agent agreed to meet on December 16, 2022, in lower Manhattan with the understanding that they would return to the undercover agent’s apartment afterward, and ZELONY-MINDELL would then engage in sexual activity with the child. ZELONY-MINDELL arrived at the scheduled time and location and was arrested. Subsequently, law enforcement identified thousands of images and videos containing child pornography on the defendant’s phones and computers.
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In addition to the prison term, ZELONY-MINDELL, 36, of Fayetteville, Arkansas, was sentenced to five years of supervised release.
Mr. Williams praised the efforts of the FBI and the members of the Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force in connection with this investigation.
The prosecution of this case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit. Assistant U. S. Attorney Lisa Daniels is in charge of the prosecution.