(JTA) — A Yeshiva University rabbinical student who pleaded guilty to child exploitation and distributing child pornography was sentenced to 13 years in federal prison.
Evan Zauder, 28, was sentenced on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in New York, the Y.U. student newspaper, The Commentator, reported Thursday.
Rabbis and a professor from Yeshiva University had written letters to Judge Lewis Kaplan requesting leniency in his sentencing.
Zauder pleaded guilty in January 2013 to one count each of enticing a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity; transporting, receiving and distributing child pornography; and possessing child pornography.
He was arrested in May 2012 after the FBI raided his Manhattan apartment and discovered on his computer hundreds of images and videos of boys engaged in sex acts.
Zauder, who worked as a sixth-grade teacher at the modern Orthodox school Yeshivat Noam in Paramus, N.J., also was charged with having relations in 2011 with a 14-year-old male he met on the Internet. The teen was not a student at Yeshivat Noam.
The letters for leniency from family members and friends at Yeshiva University requested the minimum sentence of 10 years.
Y.U. staff who wrote letters in support of Zauder included Rabbi Ezra Y. Schwartz, a rosh yeshiva at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary; David Pelcovitz, a psychology and Jewish education professor and an instructor in pastoral counseling; and Rabbi Kenneth Brander, vice president for university and community life.
Zauder also served as a former youth director at Congregation Bnai Yeshurun in Teaneck and a former part-time youth director with Bnei Akiva youth groups, according to The Commentator.