NY Jewish day school admin arrested for ‘production of child pornography’

Stanley Rosenfeld, now 84, who has admitted to abusing hundreds of boys throughout his lifetime, worked as an assistant principal at SAR in the 1970s and also taught English there a decade later.

By BEN SALES/JTA
September 17, 2019 18:08
2 minute read.
Yellow police tape lies on the road as federal agents work at a crime scene in the town in Mexico

Yellow police tape lies on the road as federal agents work at a crime scene in the town in Mexico . (photo credit: ALEJANDRO ACOSTA/REUTERS)

An administrator at a Modern Orthodox Jewish middle school in New York City was arrested for production of child pornography.

In an email to the school community on Monday, the principal of Salanter Akiva Riverdale Academy (SAR) in the Bronx, known as SAR, informed parents that Rabbi Jonathan Skolnick, the middle school associate principal of Judaic studies, was arrested late Friday night. The email said that the school had reason to believe that SAR students may have been victims of Skolnick.

“I know that this is an extremely difficult message to read and process on many levels,” wrote the principal, Rabbi Binyamin Krauss. “It is shocking to know that someone who we have trusted with our children has been accused of harming them. Despite the practices in place to protect our children, we are not immune to breaches such as the one that seems to have taken place at SAR.”

SAR fired Skolnick, who was at the school for 14 months, and is cooperating fully with the FBI. Beyond the claim of “production of pornography” and a mention of “inappropriate photos,” the email did not contain more detail.

Last year the school commissioned a report about its previous employment of a teacher who abused at least a dozen students at the school, according to the report. Stanley Rosenfeld, now 84, who has admitted to abusing hundreds of boys throughout his lifetime, worked as an assistant principal at SAR in the 1970s and also taught English there a decade later. The school commissioned the investigation in January, soon after learning of allegations against Rosenfeld.

“We strive to create a learning environment in which students feel comfortable coming forward with concerns or reports of misbehavior of any kind,” Krauss wrote to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency last year following the release of the report. “Nothing is more important than the safety of our students. If we were to learn of a report of abuse, we would work quickly to begin an investigation and ensure, throughout the process, that students are safe.”

Krauss wrote in his email on Monday that the school’s administration will be discussing the arrest with the middle school students on Tuesday, as well as students now in ninth grade who were under Skolnick’s authority last year. The school also encouraged parents to discuss the situation with their kids, and administrators are making themselves available to speak with parents on Tuesday and in the coming days as well.

The school instituted a sexual harassment policy in 2014, which requires reporting credible allegations of sexual misconduct to law enforcement, as well as guidelines for reporting allegations within the school and investigating them.


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