Syracuse suspect in baby porn case was All Saints Elementary employee
By Patrick Lohmann
March 21, 2016
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The 23-year-old woman who is accused of producing child pornography with an infant is an employee at a Syracuse elementary school.
School officials have declined to answer any questions about her employment or background.
Emily Oberst of Syracuse is accused of helping Jason Kopp, 40, of Liverpool, to sexually exploit a baby girl, according to federal prosecutors.
Oberst also allegedly sent explicit photos of the child to Kopp, including one labeled "4 John March 16". John was the pseudonym of an investigator who authorities say caught Oberst and Kopp.
Oberst lists her employment on Facebook as being with an after-school program at All Saints Elementary School, and her mother, Janet, describes having Emily volunteer at the school from the age of 15 to 19, according to biographies on the school's website.
School officials did not respond to multiple requests for comment Monday and asked a Syracuse.com reporter to leave the premises. Principal Rosalie Pollman said through an aide that she was "with students" all day Monday and could not comment.
Members of the school's board of directors could also not be reached, and neither could Janet Oberst.
One parent contacted Syracuse.com over the weekend concerned that Emily Oberst worked at the school.
Pollman was asked by email what the school was doing in response to the charges against Emily Oberst, but the principal did not respond.
The victim is a 16-month-old girl, according to federal court papers.
All Saints is a pre-kindergarten to sixth-grade independent school that opened in September 2006. It's located in rented space in the former St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic School, at 112 S. Wilbur Ave., near West Fayette Street.
The school was established after the Catholic Diocese closed St. Patrick's School, and parents worked to establish the All Saints school. It offers a "Catholic curriculum" but cannot label itself a Catholic school without the blessing of a local bishop.
FBI Special Agent Alix Skelton detailed the investigation into Kopp and Oberst in court documents filed Saturday. Skelton, other agents and an officer with the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department-FBI Child Exploitation Task Force conducted the investigation.
Prosecutor Richard Southwick declined to comment on the case Monday.
On March 4, an undercover federal officer began texting with a user called "daymein39" on Kik, a popular anonymous messaging app, Skelton wrote. During the conversations, the officer posed as a man named John.
The user daymein39 displayed the initials "JK" with his messages, Skelton said. Investigators confirmed the user was Kopp, Skelton said.
The Kik conversations took place over the course of two weeks -- ending on Friday. During that time, Kopp told the officer a female acquaintance had allowed him to have illicit contact with a baby girl, Skelton wrote. The FBI later identified Kopp's acquaintance as Oberst.
Kopp sent the officer "lewd and lascivious" photographs of the girl and told the officer he had sexually abused the child, Skelton wrote.
To prove to the officer that his actions were real, Kopp asked Oberst to take a photo of the baby with a sign that included the name John -- the name the officer was using, Skelton wrote.
Oberst took an explicit photo of the girl on March 16 with a sign that read "4 John March 16," Skelton wrote. Oberst sent the photo to Kopp through Kik, and Kopp shared the photo with the officer, wrote the special agent.
Oberst told investigators she took about 50 explicit photos of a baby and sent the photos through Kik to a man named "Jason," Skelton wrote. Oberst said she could not remember Jason's last name, but said he went by the name "Daymein" on Kik, according to court documents.
The defendants waived their right to a detention hearing in federal court on Saturday, court documents show. They are being held at the Onondaga County jail with no bail.