NEW YORK (JTA) — A teacher at a Jewish elementary school in the New York area was arrested on charges of possessing child pornography.
Evan Zauder, a sixth-grade teacher at the Modern Orthodox school Yeshivat Noam in Paramus, N.J., was arrested after the FBI reportedly raided his Manhattan apartment and discovered on his computer hundreds of images and videos of boys engaged in sex acts. His bail hearing is set for Friday. He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail and a maximum fine of $250,000.
The Forward reported that Rabbi Chaim Hagler, principal of Yeshivat Noam, was unavailable for comment, but issued a statement to parents May 2 stating that the school had "no reason to believe that any of our students are in any way involved or directly affected."
Zauder is also a rabbinical student at Yeshiva University. The Forward quoted YU’s spokesman, Mayer Fertig, as saying that he was "saddened and dismayed" by the charges.
Following the news of Zauder’s arrest, Rabbi Shaul Feldman, director of the U.S. and Canadian wing of the Orthodox youth movement Bnei Akiva, issued a mass email message to parents informing them about the arrest and Zauder’s stint the past two summers as a head counselor on the organization’s Israel summer tour.
"We learned of this arrest in the news and have not been contacted by the authorities," Feldman said. "This arrest is not related to his employment at Bnei Akiva and we have no reason to believe any inappropriate behavior occurred while he was employed in any of our programs or camps."