Jewish School Teacher Hit With Child Porn Charge

Evan Zauder of Yeshivat Noam Caught With Sex Videos

By Paul Berger

Published May 03, 2012.
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A New York-area Jewish school teacher and summer camp counselor has been arrested on charges of possessing child pornography.

FBI agents on May 1 raided the Manhattan apartment of Evan Zauder, where they discovered on his computer hundreds of images and videos of boys, some as young as 7, engaged in sex acts.

Zauder, 26, is a sixth grade teacher at Yeshivat Noam, a Modern Orthodox school, in Paramus, N.J. He is currently in jail pending a bail hearing on May 4.

Zauder is charged with one count of possessing child pornography. He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail and a maximum fine of $250,000.

Rabbi Chaim Hagler, principal of Yeshivat Noam, was unavailable for comment. In a statement sent to parents on May 2, Hagler said the school had “no reason to believe that any of our students are in any way involved or directly affected.”

“We are thoroughly cooperating with the authorities to assist them with their investigation in every possible way,” Hagler said.

Hagler went on to explain that Zauder, a new member of staff this year, had been the “subject of extensive interviews and received multiple positive background references.”

“Until this morning we had no reason to suspect this individual of this type of inappropriate behavior,” Hagler said.

He offered “support to our faculty, students and parents as necessary.”

Zauder is the former director of youth programming at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, in the Bronx. The institute’s executive director, Richard Langer, said: “We’re communicating effectively with our membership and taking it seriously.”

Zauder is also a student at Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Eichanan Theological Seminary.

RIETS spokesman Mayer Fertig said the university is “saddened and dismayed” by the charges. “While only allegations, the actions they represent are at complete odds with Torah values and ethics and with the mission of this institution,” Fertig said.

New York University’s website lists Zauder as a former director of the in-school programming division for Bnei Akiva, the Modern Orthodox youth organization. Zauder’s Facebook page says he used to work at Bnei Akiva’s Camp Stone, in western Pennsylvania.

Brenda Dachs, Bnei Akiva’s program director, said she would have to check whether Zauder was ever associated with B’nei Akiva.

Contact Paul Berger at berger@forward.com or on Twitter @pdberger


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