Rabbi at Bronx school arrested for child porn

Andrew Weber
September 17, 2019 - 12:29 pm
SAR Academy

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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) –  A rabbi and assistant principal at a New York City private school is accused of tricking a teenage boy into sending him naked photos, federal prosecutors revealed on Tuesday.

Jonathan Skolnick was arrested Saturday and is scheduled to have a detention hearing on Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan said in a statement.

Skolnick told FBI agents that he tried to obtain nude pictures from 20 to 25 potential victims, according to the complaint.

Skolnick was employed by SAR Academy in Riverdale, which describes itself as a Modern Orthodox day school.

The school wrote in a letter to parents and faculty, "“I am writing to share some devastating news with you: Rabbi Jonathan Skolnick, our Middle School Associate Principal of Judaic Studies, was arrested late Friday night and charged with production of child pornography. We have reason to be concerned that SAR students may have been victims or potential victims and we are asking you to share any information you have with law enforcement as they continue to conduct their investigation.”

Letter from SAR Academy
SAR Academy

Prosecutors say Skolnick acted as a teen girl in order to convince the boy to send him illicit pictures.

The alleged victim stopped speaking with Skolnick in June, but prosecutors say Skolnick sent increasingly threatening messages in September.

The messages were traced to Skolnick’s home in the Bronx.

Skolnick faces a host of charges related to production and possession of child pornography with a potential sentence of up to 30 years in prison.

“As an associate principal of a Bronx private school, one of Jonathan Skolnick’s primary responsibilities was the well-being and education of students.  Instead, Skolnick allegedly preyed on his underage victims in a heinous plot to fool them into sending him nude photos of themselves.,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in a statement. “Skolnick allegedly falsely identified himself as several different teenage girls – and when his victims refused to continue to send more photos, he unconscionably threatened to publicly release the ones they had already sent. This arrest exemplifies law enforcement’s ability to detect those attempting to use the ‘anonymity’ of the internet to prey on young children.”

“Today’s charges serve as a warning to individuals who prey upon some of our society’s most vulnerable population – you will be arrested and held accountable for your actions.  I thank the NYPD detectives, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District, and the FBI for their work in this investigation.," said NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill. "The NYPD will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to end the exploitation and abuse of children in our city and nation and work to bring justice to victims of these heinous crimes.”

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