Police: Ner Tamid Children Not at Risk in Child Pornography Bust

June 26, 2014
BY Marc Shapiro

After a Ner Tamid member and employee was arrested on child pornography charges, the congregation’s rabbi and its Montessori school president sent a letter out to congregants and parents assuring them that their children were not at risk.

“The Baltimore Police have made it clear, thus far, that no illegal activity took place on the synagogue or school’s premises,” read the letter, which was sent on June 18. “Most importantly, the authorities have assured us that they do not believe that the safety of our children was at any point compromised.”

Jonathan J. Lewin, 44, of the 6600 block of Edenvale Road in Baltimore, is charged with possession and distribution of child pornography. There is no evidence that Lewin had physical contact with those in the photographs, according to Baltimore County Police.

Ner Tamid Rabbi Yisrael Motzen said he was “rather shocked” when he heard the news and felt he had to tell congregants along with parents with students at the Montessori school, which is housed at Ner Tamid.

“If there’s any risk to anybody at any time, then as a synagogue and part of the community, we have an obligation to warn [congregants] of any potential issues,” he said. “Thankfully, the police have confirmed that, as of what they know right now, they don’t believe any illegal activity took place on our premises, and we are grateful and thankful that’s the case.”

Lewin was a member and a part-time employee who helped the synagogue’s custodial staff, Motzen said.

A May 16 investigation by a detective with the Baltimore County Police Department Crimes Against Children Unit found that a source at the home on Edenvale Road was sharing pornographic images of children. The detectives obtained a warrant to search the home and seized numerous hard drives, some of which had child pornography on them. Lewin, who was found to be responsible for the images, was taken into custody during the search on June 12.

Lewin was released on $75,000 bail, and the incident is still under investigation.

mshapiro@jewishtimes.com

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