Karate instructor is charged with producing child porn

Federal agents arrested a Fox Chase man last week alleging that he produced child pornography involving a pre-school-age girl in 2009.

Steven Mazer, 25, of the 300 block of Hoffnagle St., remains in the custody of U.S. marshals without bail.

According to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court, Mazer on Aug. 27, 2009, coerced a girl between the ages of 4 and 6 to engage in “sexually explicit conduct” for the purpose of producing visual images of her. The charging document did not specify the nature of the sexual conduct or of the images produced of the victim.

William S. Walker, the assistant special agent-in-charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Philadelphia, said that agents investigated Mazer for six months to a year, then moved “rapidly” to arrest him when they were able to identify a specific victim.

Walker did not disclose information about the “investigative lead” that initially drew his office’s attention to Mazer or how Mazer allegedly made initial contact with the victim.

A news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office identified Mazer as a “karate” instructor at a “school in the Bustleton section of Philadelphia which offers classes to children.” The federal prosecutor’s office did not disclose the name or location of the school.

Walker said that investigators have no evidence that the victim met Mazer through his association with the school or martial arts in general. Walker described Mazer as a student and volunteer at the school, not an employee.

Yet, authorities recognize that there may be other victims and ask that anyone with information about Mazer or child exploitation call the hotline 215–717–4987.

Homeland Security Investigations is a division of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which conducts Operation Predator to investigate child sexual abuse and related crimes.

Mazer was charged federally because his alleged crime involved interstate or foreign commerce. A trial date has not been set. ••