State police are investigating a video purporting to show a school principal in close physical contact with a young boy in the Orange County village of Kiryas Joel.
The video was widely circulated on the internet Monday.
The video camera appears to have been in the ceiling of the principal’s office. An 11-minute version of the video shows a man sitting down at a desk and drawing the young boy to him. As the boys stands between the man’s legs, the man appears to stroke the boy’s face and kiss him several times, shaking him occasionally and pulling him closer. Both remain clothed.
An administrator at the ultra Orthodox Jewish school, United Talmudical Academy, could not be reached. A call to the principal was not returned.
“We have received the video. We have looked at it,” Major Joseph Tripodo, commander of New York State Police Troop F in Middletown said. Tripodo said state police investigators have been looking into the matter along with the District Attorney’s Office and the Orange County Child Abuse Unit. He said it was premature to say whether a crime was committed.
He said police had the video before it began circulating on the Internet Monday but he would not say how long ago they began their investigation. He declined to discuss details of the tape or whether the principal has been questioned. He said “it hasn’t been determined” what exactly is happening in the video but that police are trying to have it enhanced as part of the investigation.
Orange County Chief Assistant District Attorney Christopher Borek would not confirm the investigation or whether anyone at the DAs Office had seen the video even once it was posted online.
It was unclear from the posted video when the incident occurred. Commenters on social media suggested that the video was taken months ago and released now after authorities declined to bring charges. While not discussing the time frame, Tripodo said the investigation had not concluded and remains active.