N.Y. rabbi to be slapped with child porn charges

A New York-area rabbi is among dozens to be charged with trafficking in child pornography.

The rabbi, whose name was not released, will be charged Wednesday after being arrested in recent weeks, according to The Associated Press. He was among about 70 people arrested in an operation to nab individuals trading child pornography online.

Authorities called the operation one of the largest local roundups ever of individual consumers of child porn, the AP reported.

The investigation, led by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, was sparked by the arrest in January of Brian Fanelli, a former police chief in suburban Mount Pleasant, N.Y., who was caught receiving and distributing child pornography. Fanelli said he began viewing the material for research purposes before it grew into a “personal interest.”

The rabbi was identified as someone who homeschooled his children and other children. Others arrested included a Boy Scout leader, a police officer, a paramedic, a nurse and a man out on bail following his arrest on charges that he directed women to record sex acts with young children.

Some 600 computers, tablets and smartphones were seized by authorities. Though some of the defendants had access to young children, there have been no reports of abuse.