Federal prosecutors said Tuesday that a former special needs director for Stoneham schools preyed on hundreds of teenage girls whom he met on the Internet by posing as a teenager himself and enticing them to engage in sexual acts in online chats while he recorded them on video.
Steven Orloff, 48, of Framingham, also allegedly hid a camera in the bathroom of his home to secretly record two teenage girls that he had a family relationship with as they entered the shower, officials said.
"This was someone who was very manipulative, incredibly so, over a long time, who preyed upon several hundred young girls," Assistant US Attorney Stacy Belf said in federal court in Boston Tuesday.
Belf asked US Magistrate Judge Jennifer C. Boal to hold Orloff without bail pending his trial. He faces a mandatory minimum 15-year prison sentence, and up to 30 years in prison, on some charges, and Belf called him a danger to the community who would flee if released.
Orloff's lawyer, Hank Brennan, argued that there is no evidence that Orloff would commit any crimes or would flee if released. He said Orloff posted $70,000 bail and has worn an electronic monitoring bracelet since his arrest on state charges last year, and he has been working building homes and paying child support.
Boal said she will decide whether to release Orloff at a later time. During a hearing Tuesday, prosecutors portrayed him as a predator who manipulated teenage girls.
"There were several hundred victims contacted throughout the country, throughout the world," David DiSanzo, a special agent with Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations Unit, testified during a detention hearing Tuesday. He described the girls as ranging in age from 11 to 15.
"They were all minors," he said.
Investigators were led to Orloff after the parents of a 15-year-old girl in Maine discovered she had taken nude photos of herself on an Apple iPod Touch, a tablet-like device that connects to the Internet. The girl told authorities that she had shared the pictures with unknown people on the Internet, include a person who called himself Jason Jaffe and claimed to be 14 years old. Authorities determined that Jaffe was Orloff.
The girl also told authorities that she had online conversations with Orloff through Skype, in which she undressed for him and engaged in sexual conduct. She never saw him, though, because he claimed his camera was broken, according to court records.
Orloff was charged in state court with posing a child in the nude. Authorities later searched his computer and found more than 200,000 lines of instant messages and chat logs, "as well as substantial online footprint of social media websites" frequented by teenagers, according to court records.
He also had photos of children engaging in sexual acts and a homemade movie of two nude girls he had family relationships with. DiSanzo said the movie was filmed with a camera Orloff hid in a plant in his bathroom.
"You can see a picture of his face as he is setting the camera up," DiSanzo said.
The Boston Herald reported that the mother of one of the girls, who was a foster child, received a letter from the state Department of Children and Families informing her that a social worker supported allegations that Orloff sexually abused the girl. He has not been charged with any sexual abuse. The letter was included in a civil suit accusing the department of neglect, the Herald reported.
DiSanzo said investigators did not find any evidence that Orloff had any physical contact with any of his alleged victims, and none of the pictures were of students from the Stoneham schools. His job with the school district ended after his arrest.
DiSanzo said that Orloff contacted most of his alleged victims through Skype and, without showing his face, posed as Jaffe and posted a public profile with a photo. Then, he allegedly contacted teenage girls and manipulated them into engaging in sex acts, which he recorded. "He's professing how he wants to further their relationship," DiSanzo said. "Ultimately, the end game is the sexual acts."
Milton J. Valencia can be reached at MValencia@