NJ Therapist Sexually Abused 16-Year-Old Patient: Prosecutors

A therapist who counsels children and teens was arrested by the FBI Tuesday for allegedly sexually abusing a 16-year-old patient.

Prosecutors charged Elliot Halberstam of Bergenfield, New Jersey, of filming his own sexual relations with the teenage boy, whom he had been seeing since 2011. 

Halberstam, who is listed as an assistant director with Jewish Family Service & Children's Center of Clifton-Passaic, is also accused of asking the teen to make numerous explicit videos that were later emailed or texted to him.

According to the FBI, Halberstam groomed the victim, who had dreams of becoming a model, then exploited him. Authorities said Halberstam created fake email accounts, posing as a lawyer promising to help the teen break into the modeling industry.

The graphic emails encouraged the victim to perform and record sex acts with Halberstam. In one email, Halberstam allegedly said alcohol would be provided at a photo shoot in a hotel room to "take the edge off." 

Halberstam rented hotel rooms to film some of his interactions with the teen, the FBI said.

He also allegedly wrote to the teen, "Break through the barrier and let go of your prudishness." 

The victim eventually reported Halberstam to authorities.The FBI arrested him Tuesday, and investigators searched his home Tuesday morning.

Authorities are concerned there may be more victims, especially because in one email he said, "I'm actually currently trying to use my amazing grooming techniques to convince and lure another teenager into coming to a hotel room," according to officials familiar with the case.

Calls and emails to Halberstam were not returned. Workers at the Jewish Family Center in Clifton told NBC 4 New York he no longer worked there, and the center later released a statement saying it was cooperating with law enforcement and trying to learn more about the situation.

"Our chief concern of course is the privacy and welfare of our clients," the statement said. 

During a court hearing Tuesday afternoon in federal court in Manhattan, Halberstam was ordered held without bail. He's facing federal charges because he sent emails from computers in several states, and from the U.K., where he's originally from. 

At his Bergenfield home, his wife seemed stunned and offered no comment Tuesday night. 

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