New Jersey child therapist accused of sexually exploiting teen patient

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ENGLEWOOD, N.J. — A New Jersey therapist who treats children is accused of sexually exploiting one of them.

Elliot Halberstam, 38, of Bergenfield, New Jersey, is accused of coercing and tricking a 16-year-old boy into taking sexually explicit pictures and video and sending them to Halberstam over a period of several months, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Halberstam "is charged with violating the trust of his former patient, a 16-year old boy, in the worst way imaginable," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.

The young victim, according to investigators, was a patient of Halberstam’s since 2011.

Halberstam, as alleged in court documents, went as far as to create a fake email account to trick his victim into believing he might get a modeling contract.

In exchange, more images and disturbing video were exchanged, officials said. Investigators believe Halberstam took advantage of his teen victim sexually at his Englewood office on at least one occasion.

The suspect had worked at Jewish Families and Children Center, which on Wednesday said he is no longer part of the organization.

"“The employee in question is no longer with us. We are cooperating with law enforcement and trying to learn more about the situation," the group said in a statement to PIX11 News. "Our chief concern, of course, is the privacy and the welfare of our clients."

Halberstam faces one count each of coercing and enticing a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison; one count of sexual exploitation of a child, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison; and one count of receipt of child pornography, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Investigators believe there may be more victims. Anyone with information concerning Halberstam that may be relevant to the investigation is urged to call the FBI at 212-384-1000, or submit their information to tips.fbi.gov.