Writer, photography curator, and painter Efrem Zelony-Mindell was recently arrested after being charged by the U.S. District Attorney’s office for attempted enticement of a minor, as well as possession and distribution of child pornography.
“Zelony-Mindell allegedly attempted to engage in sexual activity with a nine-year-old boy,” wrote U.S. Attorney Damian Williams in a press statement. “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.”
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The FBI alleges that, starting in April of this year, Zelony-Mindell had a series of conversations with two undercover FBI agents on the encrypted messaging platform Telegram, where Zelony-Mindell stated their desire to have anal sex with a nine-year-old child. The FBI alleges that in subsequent conversations on the encrypted messaging service, by text, and over the phone, Zelony-Mindell sent a shirtless photo of themselves and “agreed to have sex with the drugged child.”
After arrangements were made to meet in lower Manhattan at a coffee shop between Greenwich Street and Hudson Street on December 16 before going to the apartment where the child was located, Zelony-Mindell met a third undercover FBI agent and was arrested.
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.
Zelony-Mindell did not respond to requests for comment.
A 2011 graduate of the School of Visual Arts in photography and painting, Zelony-Mindell’s curation work included “Familiar Strange,” an exhibition of new works by the MFA 2017 graduates from the International Center of Photography-Bard College; the photobooks and exhibits Witness, Primal Sight, newflesh: representing queerness beyond the body; the exhibition “Re: Art Show 21: This is Not Here” at the Pfizer Pharmaceutical Building in 2018; and the seventh issue of the photography quarterly There, There. They also served on the jury of the $10,000 signature prize for emerging or under-recognized LGBTQ+ photographers from the New York–based arts nonprofit Queer|Art and the Robert Giard Foundation.
Zelony-Mindell also wrote about art and photography for publications like HuffPost, DEAR DAVE, VICE, MOSSLESS, Posture magazine, aCurator, and L’Oeil de la Photographie; and was an MFA candidate at the University of Arkansas, set to graduate in 2025.
The charges against Zelony-Mindell carry maximum sentences of life in prison for enticement of a child to engage in illegal sexual activity and 20 years in prison each for distribution and possession of child pornography.