Jewish school teacher arrested on possession of child pornography


A teacher at a Jewish elementary school in the New York area has been 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 department 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 Y.U.‘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.”

N.J. synagogue attacker confessed, prosecutor says


The 19-year-old man charged in attacks on two northern New Jersey synagogues confessed to the crimes, prosecutors said.

Anthony Graziano confessed to the Jan. 11 firebomb attack on a synagogue and residence in Rutherford and the Jan. 3 arson attack on a synagogue in Paramus, Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Martin Delaney said Tuesday, according to reports.

Also Tuesday, Graziano pleaded not guilty to additional charges that he planned to attack the Jewish Community Center of Paramus.

Graziano’s attorney said his client has a history of poor mental health and that any confession should be treated skeptically. The attorney, Robert Kalisch, told The Record newspaper that he is considering entering an insanity plea.

A state Superior Court judge in Hackensack reduced Graziano’s bail from $5 million to $2.5 million, but reiterated that he is still a danger to the community, according to reports.

Graziano has been charged with nine counts of first-degree attempted murder in the Rutherford attack, as well as one count each of bias intimidation and aggravated arson. Rabbi Nosson Schuman of Congregation Beth El, who lives with his family in the synagogue residence, was injured in the attack.

In the Paramus attack on Congregation K’Hal Adath Jeshurun, Graziano was charged with aggravated arson and bias intimidation, as well as third-degree arson.

If convicted on all charges, he could be sentenced to up to 95 years in prison.