News, Culture & Society

NYC artist who identifies as ‘non-binary queer’ charged with trying to have sex with 9-year-old

A prominent artist who identifies as ‘non-binary queer’ was arrested by federal agents Friday for trying to arrange anal intercourse with a nine-year-old boy in New York.

Efrem Zelony-Mindell, 35, was booked by the US District Attorney’s Office for attempted enticement of a child, as well as possession and distribution of child pornography – which are all felonies.

Agents say that Mindell, who uses they/them pronouns, came under investigation after messaging an undercover agent who posed as the father of the Manhattan minor on an encrypted messaging service in April.

In the messages, prosecutors wrote that Mindell attempted to arrange to meet the boy, making it clear, ‘in graphic and unambiguous terms, his desire to engage in sexual activity with minor children.’ The suspect was also under the pretense the child would be drugged ahead of the encounter.

Efrem Zelony-Mindell, prominent artist and activist who identifies as ‘non-binary queer’ was arrested by federal agents Friday for trying to arrange anal intercourse with a nine-year-old boy in New York

Mindell, who uses they/them pronouns, came under investigation after messaging an undercover agent who posed as the father of the Manhattan minor on an encrypted messaging service in April,

Mindell, who uses they/them pronouns, came under investigation after messaging an undercover agent who posed as the father of the Manhattan minor on an encrypted messaging service in April,

Zelony-Mindell, a renowned figure in the New York art sector,  faces life in prison if convicted on the enticement charge, and a further 20 years for each child porn offense – to which officials say the artist has already confessed. 

Addressing the once-respected artist’s arrest over the weekend, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams, described how Zelony-Mindell first came under his office’s radar last April.

The federal prosecutor said Zelony-Mindell contacted the undercover agent, who was working for the FBI, believing he was the father of the young boy. They allegedly tried to arrange to have anal intercourse with the child through his father.

On Friday, on a street corner in Manhattan, Zelony-Mindell met up with the undercover agent, Williams said, with the expectation that he would take them to meet the young boy and sexually assault him while he was partially drugged.

In the messages, prosecutors wrote that Mindell attempted to arrange to meet the boy, making it clear, 'in graphic and unambiguous terms, his desire to engage in sexual activity with minor children.' The suspect was also under the pretense the child would be drugged ahead of the encounter, and sent videos and images depicting sex acts on children to the undercover agent

In the messages, prosecutors wrote that Mindell attempted to arrange to meet the boy, making it clear, ‘in graphic and unambiguous terms, his desire to engage in sexual activity with minor children.’ The suspect was also under the pretense the child would be drugged ahead of the encounter, and sent videos and images depicting sex acts on children to the undercover agent

Damning media sent by Zelony-Mindell - who used the alias of Evan Smith during his talks with the agent - included an image of ' an approximately four-year-old boy being forced to perform oral sex on an adult male,' and a second image that 'depicted an adult male restraining an approximately 12-year-old boy whose penis and anus were exposed'

Damning media sent by Zelony-Mindell – who used the alias of Evan Smith during his talks with the agent – included an image of ‘ an approximately four-year-old boy being forced to perform oral sex on an adult male,’ and a second image that ‘depicted an adult male restraining an approximately 12-year-old boy whose penis and anus were exposed’

Instead, federal agents overseeing the sting arrested Zelony-Mindell, who they subsequently charged with possessing and distributing child porn based on images and videos what were sent to the agent during their digital correspondence.

Court documents filed Friday revealed the extent of the disturbing content, which included a video sent by Zelony-Mindell in May of ‘an adult male raping an approximately 11-year-old boy by penetrating him anally.’

Other damning media sent by Zelony-Mindell – who used the alias of Evan Smith during his talks with the agent – included an image of ‘an approximately four-year-old boy being forced to perform oral sex on an adult male,’ and a second image that ‘depicted an adult male restraining an approximately 12-year-old boy whose penis and anus were exposed.’

Zelony-Mindell, who has taught classes and has given lectures on art and photography at universities - across the country first came under his office's radar last April, when he began messaging the undercover agent

Zelony-Mindell, who has taught classes and has given lectures on art and photography at universities – across the country first came under his office’s radar last April, when he began messaging the undercover agent

According to court documents filed with the Southern District of New York, Zelony-Mindell waived their Miranda rights, agreed to talk to law enforcement, and admitted during an interview to possessing and distributing child pornography. 

Shortly before the arrest, officials said that Zelony-Mindell met with another agent in a lower Manhattan at a coffee shop between Greenwich Street and Hudson Street, before going to the apartment where agents said the child was located.

Zelony-Mindell then met with the other agent outside shortly after, at which point the art expert – who has given lectures at schools across the country and has written about art and photography for publications like the Huffington Post and Vice – was apprehended. 

Zelony-Mindell, a renowned figure in the NY art sector, was arrested Friday , and faces a max sentence of life imprisonment if convicted on the enticement charge, and a further 20 years for each child porn offense - to which officials say the artist has already confessed. Pictured is the home page of his website, where he advertises works that often feature the male form

Zelony-Mindell, a renowned figure in the NY art sector, was arrested Friday , and faces a max sentence of life imprisonment if convicted on the enticement charge, and a further 20 years for each child porn offense – to which officials say the artist has already confessed. Pictured is the home page of his website, where he advertises works that often feature the male form

US attorney Williams in a statement of the bureau’s months-long operation: ‘Zelony-Mindell allegedly attempted to engage in sexual activity with a nine-year-old boy. 

‘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.’

FBI Assistant Director Michael J. Driscoll further chided the suspect – who once wrote a story promoting the ‘iconic’ photography of an underage prostitute in Seattle.

‘As alleged, Mr. Zelony-Mindell’s actions are nearly unfathomable,’ said FBI Assistant Director Michael J. Driscoll. 

Zelony-Mindell's social media accounts, meanwhile, are riddled with suggestive art work and language - with the artist recently sharing one piece that depicts two men with a wire hanger protruding from both of their anuses.

Zelony-Mindell’s social media accounts, meanwhile, are riddled with suggestive art work and language – with the artist recently sharing one piece that depicts two men with a wire hanger protruding from both of their anuses.

‘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.’

 A 2011 graduate of the Big Apple’s illustrious School of Visual Arts in photography and painting, Zelony-Mindell has also led activism efforts championing under-recognized LGBTQ+ photographers in the New York area.

Zelony-Mindell’s social media accounts, meanwhile, are riddled with suggestive art work and language – with the artist recently sharing one piece that depicts two men with a wire hanger protruding from both of their anuses.

‘Just because I have esoteric thoughts and interests does not make me a pervert,’ one meme shared by the artist – whose work often features the male form – read.

Zelony-Mindell did not respond to requests for comment. 

'Just because I have esoteric thoughts and interests does not make me a pervert,' one of many memes shared by the artist - whose work often features the male form - reads

‘Just because I have esoteric thoughts and interests does not make me a pervert,’ one of many memes shared by the artist – whose work often features the male form – reads

***
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk



Find local lawyers and law firms at USAttorneys.com