Thursday, February 09, 2012

Where Are The Moetzes Gedolei Harlem When You Need Them?

Harlem Gedolim Pushing Their Way Into Their Annual "Goody" Convention Dining Room.

Rosh Gedolei Harlem - Happy With His New Pesach Hat - At a Recent Daf YoMama Celebration
A teacher’s aide at a public school in Brooklyn who was charged last month with possessing and distributing child pornography was arrested again on Monday night after federal agents discovered that some of the videos showed him engaging in sexual acts with students, possibly at the school, according to law enforcement officials.

The aide, Taleek Brooks, 40, made a video of himself touching a prepubescent child’s penis and another video in which he spanked a naked child, according to a complaint unsealed in Federal District Court in Brooklyn on Tuesday.

Law enforcement officials said the videos appeared to have been made inside Public School 243, in Crown Heights, where Mr. Brooks worked.  The gravity of the allegations was such that the schools chancellor, Dennis M. Walcott, visited the school shortly before dismissal on Tuesday.

“My personal reaction is one of disgust on the part of this individual,” Mr. Walcott said. “This case is a horrendous case, and it’s something that should not be tolerated.”

Still, Mr. Walcott said that a “screening system was in place” and that there had been no indications that Mr. Brooks had been abusing students. Then the chancellor went into the school to meet with faculty and staff members.

Mr. Brooks first came to the attention of federal agents in December, when an undercover F.B.I. agent signed into a file-sharing program and discovered a user with the username “T. S.” who had child pornography among his shared files, according to the complaint.

Agents later tracked the IP address of “T. S.” to Mr. Brooks’s home, according to the complaint. On Jan. 13, agents executed a search warrant there, seizing a computer and two external hard drives, among other items, and arrested Mr. Brooks.

Mr. Brooks told investigators that he had collected and saved over 1,000 files on his computers containing child pornography, according to the complaint.

Mr. Brooks was released on $100,000 bail on Jan. 27. A subsequent search of his computer files revealed the images and videos that led to the more serious charges.

Mr. Brooks appeared in court on Tuesday. When the prosecutor described the evidence against him, Mr. Brooks shook his head in objection. The presiding magistrate judge, Joan M. Azrack, who also presided over Mr. Brooks’s earlier bail hearing, revoked Mr. Brooks’s bail and ordered him detained.

“Had the evidence been before me a month ago showing he was a predator, there was no way I would have released him on any bail package,” Judge Azrack said.

Shortly before school was dismissed at P.S. 243 on Tuesday, several parents and grandparents of students said they had been shocked to hear the news of Mr. Brooks’s arrest.

“I know Mr. Brooks,” Michael Haskins, 31, said. “We never had any problems out of him. He was good with the kids, right?” he added, looking at a friend who was standing beside him.

He said that he had two children, a 10- and an 11-year-old, at the school, and that they had frequently gone on trips out of the classroom with Mr. Brooks for activities.

“Swimming, basketball tournaments,” Mr. Haskins said. “Every Saturday all summer and sometimes during school.”

Nicole Smith, 26, the mother of a first grader, said the allegations, which were included in a letter given to parents on Tuesday from the principal, Karen Hambright-Glover, left her in shock. “He’s a good person,” Ms. Smith said. “I don’t believe it.”

Tony Herbert, a community advocate, also stopped by P.S. 243 about an hour before dismissal on Tuesday to meet with some parents. He noted that Mr. Brooks had had unfettered access to children because of the after-school activities he took them to; he also noted that it seemed that Mr. Brooks often had a video camera in his hand.

“These kids would change in front of him,” Mr. Herbert said. “These kids were in love with this guy.”

If convicted of possession of child pornography, Mr. Brooks faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. If convicted of distribution, he faces a mandatory five-year sentence. If convicted of production, he faces a mandatory 15-year sentence.