Map Interactive local COVID-19 tracker
Contact Us
Saddle Brook-Elmwood Park Daily Voice serves Elmwood Park & Saddle Brook
Return to your home site

Menu

Saddle Brook-Elmwood Park Daily Voice serves Elmwood Park & Saddle Brook

Nearby Towns

News

Feds: NJ Teacher, Soccer Coach Caught Making Child Porn After Sending Hard Drive For Repairs

Screen shot of Steven Brooks from a video that has since been removed.
Screen shot of Steven Brooks from a video that has since been removed. Photo Credit: njtvonline.org

A Union County fifth-grade teacher from Morristown who also coaches youth soccer was arrested by the FBI after sending a hard drive containing child porn that he’d created to a California company to recover his files, authorities said.

Steven Brooks, 34, who recently taught at Washington Elementary School in Summit and has helped run the Livingston Soccer Club the past 10 years, used a fake online profile to get underage boys to send him videos and photos, authorities said Tuesday.

Brooks had emailed an employee at a California company that he had “sensitive and private” information on a hard drive that he'd sent for data retrieval, an FBI complaint on file in U.S. District Court says.

While recovering the data for Brooks, the employee noticed several offensive and illegal thumbnail images, then immediately stopped the recovery process and contacted the FBI, it says.

Agents in California obtained a search warrant and searched the hard drive, discovering that Brooks had “used a fake online persona on a social media account to solicit nude photos and videos from teenage victims,” Acting U.S. Attorney Rachel A. Honig said Tuesday.

“A video file on Brooks’s external hard drive showed the fake online persona that Brooks created using a social media platform to communicate with a minor and to solicit the minor to send a video that depicted the minor masturbating,” Honig said.

“There were dozens of other images of child sexual abuse,” she added.

These were divided into folders labeled by subjects such as “Bathing Suits,” “Nude,” “Partying” and “Skin Pictures,” the FBI complaint says.

A folder labeled “Clips” held videos of “a person engaging in oral sex, a person masturbating and picture files of a naked person masturbating on a bed,” it says.

These were used to “fully develop” his fake online persona, the FBI said.

The complaint cites several incidents of boys sending Brooks videos that included masturbation, their faces and penises clearly visible. It also cites a file of 37 images from the same boy, including some selfies taken in front of a bathroom mirror.

Another video of two minors having intercourse on a bed runs for nearly 35 minutes, the FBI complaint says.

Brooks had been featured in a remote-learning episode, created by NJTV in partnership with the NJEA and the NJ Department of Education and posted last April.

NJTV removed the episode as part of its "Learning Live" series both online and on-air after the allegations against Brooks were made public, said Debra Falk, the network's communications director.  

U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor ordered Brooks held on charges of possessing and mailing child pornography following a video-conferenced hearing Tuesday in Newark.

Summit Schools Supt. Superintendent Scott D. Hough said the teacher had been placed on administrative leave.

The allegations are "unrelated to the staff member’s employment" and "did not occur on school property or involve our students,” Hough said in a statement.

Honig credited special agents and members of the Child Exploitation Human Trafficking Task Force of the Newark field office of the FBI, as well as special agents from the FBI’s San Francisco field office, with the investigation leading to the charges and arrest.

Handling the case for the government is Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Levin of her Violent Crimes Unit in Newark.

to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.

Welcome to

Saddle Brook-Elmwood Park Daily Voice!

Serves Elmwood Park & Saddle Brook

Hi! You've read our articles so we know you like our reporting. To keep reading please join our mailing list.

Get important news about your town as it happens.