You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, November 10, 2015

New Jersey Child Therapist Charged With Sexual Exploitation, Enticement, And Child Pornography Crimes

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Diego Rodriquez, Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced that ELLIOT HALBERSTAM was arrested today and charged in a criminal complaint with three counts stemming from his sexual exploitation and enticement of a minor and his receipt of child pornography.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said:  “Elliot Halberstam is charged with violating the trust of his former patient, a 16-year old boy, in the worst way imaginable - he allegedly coerced and tricked the victim into engaging in sexually explicit conduct, and captured it on video and in photographs.  Together with our partners at the FBI, we are dedicated to ensuring that those who sexually exploit children are held to account.”  

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Diego Rodriquez said:  “As alleged, Halberstam violated the trust of a minor who was a former patient of his in counseling, by coercing the victim to engage in sexual activity with him and film it.  The FBI will continue to investigate and bring to justice those who sexually exploit our children.”

According to the Complaint[1]:

Beginning in March 2015, HALBERSTAM, a child therapist, coerced and enticed a 16-year-old boy who was a former patient of his (“Victim-1”) to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct, and received images and videos constituting child pornography from Victim-1.  To do so, HALBERSTAM groomed Victim-1 through numerous email and text messages, including by posing as another individual to entice Victim-1 to produce and send child pornography to HALBERSTAM and to allow HALBERSTAM to photograph Victim-1.

*                *                *

HALBERSTAM, 38, of Bergenfield, New Jersey, is charged with one count of coercing and enticing a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison; one count of sexual exploitation of a child, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison; and one count of receipt of child pornography, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.   The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

There may be more victims of this alleged conduct.  Any individuals who believe they have information concerning ELLIOT HALBERSTAM that may be relevant to the investigation should contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation at 1-212-384-1000 or https://tips.fbi.gov/.

Mr. Bharara praised the efforts of the FBI in this investigation.  He added that the investigation is continuing.

This case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit.  Assistant United States Attorney Andrew D. Beaty is in charge of the prosecution.

The allegations contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

 

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint and the description of the Complaint set forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

15-290
Updated November 10, 2015