The Alfonse M. D'Amato United States Courthouse in Central Islip.

The Alfonse M. D'Amato United States Courthouse in Central Islip. Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

A Brentwood pastor accused of enticing teenage boys to engage in sexually explicit activity online is facing additional child sex charges after federal prosecutors say they uncovered evidence of more alleged victims, including one whom he met in person.

Jose Saez Jr., 29, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a 12-count indictment charging him with sexual exploitation of a child, coercion and enticement, and both distribution and possession of child pornography, at an arraignment before U.S.  District Court Judge Joan Azrack in Central Islip. The indictment includes criminal forfeiture allegations.

“The superseding indictment was to add in more victims, including in-person contact with a minor,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Toporovsky told Azrack during the brief arraignment. The prosecutor did not elaborate on the details of the in-person encounter or any of the other minors.

Prosecutors initially accused Saez, a pastor at Iglesia Cristiana Alumbrando El Camino church on Second Avenue in Brentwood, of engaging in online chats with minors and enticing a 15-year-old boy and a 19-year-old male pretending to be 16 years old to perform sexually explicit acts and sending videos of the encounters to other men.

The new indictment includes charges related to explicit interactions with four more minors, according to the indictment.

Prosecutors said at a December court appearance that a raid on Saez’s Brentwood home found evidence he engaged in explicit online chats with as many as 30 minors, though they said it would be difficult to identify each of the youths.

On Wednesday, Toporovsky said the effort to find more victims is continuing and another superseding indictment is possible at a later date.

“There’s still a lot more [discovery] for us to go through and we’re talking to more [possible] victims,” Toporovsky said.

The pastor is facing three counts of sexual exploitation of a child, two counts of coercion and enticement and a single count of attempted sexual exploitation of a child for the six alleged victims whose identities prosecutors have confirmed.

Saez’s attorney, Evan Sugar, of Federal Defenders of New York, told Azrack his client, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis while in custody, is being housed in a nursing facility. The defense is looking to have a psychosexual evaluation of Saez before the case advances toward a trial date, Sugar said.

Iglesia Cristiana Alumbrando el Camino in Brentwood.

Iglesia Cristiana Alumbrando el Camino in Brentwood. Credit: Google

FBI investigators, working with Suffolk County police, arrested Saez in September following interactions he had with an undercover law enforcement officer. They discovered a cellphone with an app containing 15 sexually explicit videos allegedly sent at the pastor’s request by a young man claiming to be a 16-year-old boy, court records show.

Toporovsky has said in some instances Saez made contact through open channels and coerced the minors to move to encrypted networks to continue the exchanges. In one case, Saez asked the minor to show identification proving they were underage, the prosecutor said. Saez also occasionally pretended to be an underage female, to convince boys to interact with him, the prosecutor said.

Toporovsky also previously disclosed that FBI agents found an iPad folded inside a Bible during their search of the home Saez shared with his wife and children.

Prosecutors have said investigators discovered 12,000 videos, 400,000 images and 6,800 online chats taken from other devices during the search. In December, Toporovsky referred to the size of Saez’s collection of child pornography as being potentially unprecedented for investigators handling the case.

Saez has been in custody since his Sept. 28 arrest. Family members had put together a $2.7 million bail package approved by a magistrate judge in December, but Azrack ordered him to remain in custody following an appeal by prosecutors. Bail was not discussed Wednesday.

Saez is due back in court for a status conference on May 25.

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