According to the Department of Justice, the accused, Efrem Zelony-Mindell, allegedly started communicating on an encrypted messaging site and “repeatedly expressed, in graphic and unambiguous terms, his desire to engage in sexual activity with minor children.” The defendant is also accused of sending an undercover agent “numerous images and videos containing child pornography.”
A short time later, Zelony-Mindell communicated with another undercover agent posing as the father of a nine-year-old boy.
Zelony-Mindell allegedly “made clear that he was interested in having sex with the nine-year-old child,” a DOJ press release said.
The DOJ further claimed the defendant “made clear that he wanted to engage in sexual activity, including specifically anal sex” with the undercover agent’s purported son. The agent told Zelony-Mindell that his boy would be “knocked out a little bit” from sleep medicine, and the defendant allegedly “agreed to have sex with the drugged child,” according to federal authorities.
The agent and defendant arranged to meet on a street corner in New York City on Friday, the DOJ said, and planned to go to an apartment where Zelony-Mindell “would then engage in sexual activity with the child.”
A third undercover agent arrested Zelony-Mindell at the agreed-upon location in lower Manhattan.
“The protection of children from predation remains of critical importance to this Office, and we will continue to use our resources and work with our law enforcement partners to bring offenders to justice,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement.
The act of engaging in sexual intercourse with someone who is not able to consent is considered statutory rape.
FBI Assistant Director Michael J. Driscoll called the defendant’s actions “nearly unfathomable.”
“Today’s action should serve as a reminder to anyone who seeks to prey on children – the FBI Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Task Force and our law enforcement partners will continue to aggressively pursue you and hold you accountable,” Driscoll added.