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Feds: NY man active in immigration reform arrested on child porn charge

By Chris Boyette, CNN
updated 10:08 AM EDT, Thu September 19, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Roy Naim was mentioned in a Time magazine article on immigration reform
  • He worked with immigration advocacy groups in New York
  • Prosecutors say he was arrested based on an electronic trail from an alleged child-porn producer
  • Naim pleaded not guilty to a federal charge of receiving child pornography

New York (CNN) -- An activist for immigration reform was arrested and arraigned on child pornography charges in Brooklyn federal court Wednesday.

Roy Naim, 29, pleaded not guilty to a count of receiving child pornography, and was denied bail by Judge Joan M. Azrack.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Saritha Komatireddy argued Naim was a risk to the community as his alleged crimes involved children, and he sometimes worked with a youth advocacy group and volunteered at a camp for children. She added he was a flight risk as he has no real job and isn't a citizen of the country.

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Naim's attorney, Richard A Finkel, countered that his client was a respected member of his community, and told the court how Naim, who was mentioned in a 2012 Time magazine article on immigration reform, volunteered for many charities and had become a relatively well-known activist on immigration.

Finkel continued to explain that Naim did not work because he spent most of his time "helping others" and studying with rabbis.

His family works hard, Finkel said, but they have little money and own no property.

Judge Azrack did not say she would deny Naim bail outright, but said without money or property to offer as collateral, Naim would be kept in custody for now.

Finkel told reporters as he left the courthouse that he had just been put on the case and "I don't know much about it ... They're just charges and we will contest the charges, and that's all I can say."

Prosecutor Komatireddy declined comment on the case.

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Naim moved with his family from Israel when he was 3 years old, but has not attained U.S. citizenship.

Naim was mentioned in a cover story for Time magazine in June 2012 by journalist and filmmaker, Jose Antonio Vargas, who publicly revealed his own status as an undocumented immigrant and gaining support among so-called DREAMers -- advocates for a path to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants.

In a story on his life that he wrote for the website Empathizethis.com, Naim said, "I read this article about Jose Antonio Vargas, who outed himself as an undocumented person. I remember reading that article, and it gave me a lot of hope. I started connecting with Jose, and I ended up (in) Time magazine with him."

Naim continued in the online biography, "If you ask me what I want to do, I would say that I want to serve people. Volunteer work is what I live for."

In June, the New York Daily News ran an article about Naim's work with a children's advocacy group on a game for children based on the immigrant experience.

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According to the federal indictment of Naim, investigators in Louisiana arrested a suspected producer of child pornography who allegedly had enticed children to engage in sexually explicit conduct on the internet via videoconferencing. The suspect allegedly recorded the acts, and sent the videos to people over the web and through e-mail.

Following an electronic trail, investigators were led to a computer at Naim's home according to the indictment.

Federal agents executed a search warrant, the indictment says, and told Naim he was not under arrest, but asked him if there was any information he wanted to share voluntarily.

According to the indictment, Naim led the agents to his computer and told them he had been viewing and downloading videos of child pornography for several years, and his a laptop contained videos of child pornography. He was then arrested.

If convicted, Naim faces five to 20 years in prison, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

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