A middle school associate principal at a Bronx Jewish academy was busted on child pornography and extortion charges for allegedly soliciting a 14-year-old boy to give him sexually explicit pictures of himself, reports the Daily News.
Rabbi Jonathan Skolnick, 37, of the Salanter Akiba Riverdale Academy in the Riverdale section of Bronx, also threatened to expose the teen unless he continued to send nude shots, federal authorities charged.
Skolnick was arrested at his Bronx home Friday night, and is being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan.
According to the criminal complaint, the scheme began when the 14-year-old boy began communicating with who he thought were several teenage girls his own age.
But the girls were made up by by Skolnick, who allegedly texted the boy with spoofed telephone numbers.
“Typically, one ‘girl’ would introduce him to the next ‘girl,’” the FBI charged in the complaint. “The communications with each ‘girl’ were platonic in nature at first and then became sexual.”
The fake girls sent the teen photos of naked women, claiming they were pictures of themselves. “The ‘girls’ would then ask [the teenage boy] to email nude and sexually explicit photographs of himself.”
In March and June, the 14-year-old responded with his own dirty pictures to two email accounts, the complaint said.
The phony “girls” reached out again to the teen in August and September, but the exchanges got a lot more threatening, the complaint stated, “causing [the teenage boy] to fear that the ‘girls’ would release the nude photographs that he had sent.”
“Apparently you don’t care who knows,” one text message threatened, according to the complaint.
When he was busted, Skolnick allegedly admitted to the pervy scam and confessed that he had requested sexually explicit photos from 20 to 25 victims. The complaint said the majority of the contacts were minors.
Skolnick’s lawyer, Jonathan Marvinny, has declined to comment according to the report.
On Monday, school principal Rabbi Binyamin Krauss sent a letter to parents alerting them to the arrest, and stating “we have reason to be concerned that SAR students may have been victims or potential victims.” Krauss said administrators were cooperating with authorities in the case.
If convicted of the charges, Skolnick faces up to life in prison.