A former teacher at a Brooklyn public high school has been found guilty of soliciting and producing child pornography online, federal prosecutors announced Tuesday.
Jonathan Deutsch, 38, faces a minimum of 15 years in prison after being convicted by a jury on four counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and 6 counts of attempted sexual exploitation of a minor.
“Jonathan Deutsch connected with young children over the Internet and exploited them for his own sexual gratification. His conduct is criminal and deplorable,” said US Attorney Breon Peace, of the Eastern District, in a statement. “This Office is committed to vigorously prosecuting individuals who sexually exploit children and to ensuring that they are brought to justice. Today’s conviction should serve as yet another reminder as to the importance of educating our children about the risks of communicating with strangers online.”
Until his arrest in Sept. 2018, he was a public school educator at Leon M. Goldstein High School for the Sciences in Manhattan Beach, where he taught classes in film production, government, economics, and journalism, among other subjects. He had previously taught at Edward R. Murrow High School in Midwood and at Brooklyn Tech.
Deutsch was well-liked by his students, but he led a double-life online as a serial perv. Starting in 2016, Deutsch joined a number of Facebook groups using two separate accounts, one posing as a 33-year-old teacher from Brooklyn, the other as a 15-year-old boy. He would identify profiles of those he suspected to be minors, chat them up, flatter them with compliments, and pretend to be their boyfriend, federal prosecutors alleged.
Deutsch would encourage the minors to send him sexually explicit photos or videos, and would send the same to his victims; prosecutors say the creep asked for and received illicit content from at least four children, aged between 10 and 16 years. He allegedly had sexually explicit communications with at least 45 children over several years.
At his weeklong trial, the feds presented evidence against Deutsch gleaned from his computer by law enforcement monitoring his activities, including his browser history and Facebook message log. Three of his child victims also testified against him in court.
US Attorney Peace said that the illicit imbroglio should serve as a lesson for parents to be mindful of their children’s activities online, with predators like Deutsch constantly seeking out victims.
“Parents and guardians are the best line of defense against Deutsch and predators like him,” Peace said. “Have a conversation with your children; talk with them about being safe online, and tell them to ask for help the moment they are asked to do something that doesn’t feel right.”