A former leader of the Brooklyn branch of the Tea Party who once ran for office on a pledge to protect children admitted to possessing and trading child pornography, the New York Daily News reported.
Prosecutors charged 38-year-old Joseph Hayon on Friday with “possession of a sexual performance of a child” after police seized five desktop computers, two laptop computers, a tablet, video cameras and a mobile phone.
Hayon reportedly admitted to “viewing 20 images of child pornography” on his home computer involving children ranging from 2 years old to 12 years old. He was also ordered to comply with an order of protection barring him from having any contact with his three sons and 15-month-old daughter.
The suspect has mounted two unsuccessful runs for office. In 2012, he ran for the state Assembly, saying he would “sponsor legislation that would prohibit merchants from selling any obscene ‘literature’ unless they cater exclusively to adults.”
According to the New York Post, he ran for New York City Council the following year. His campaign website, which bears the header, “Our children are our future,” promotes his work with a Jewish non-profit group, Pesach Tikvah. However, he is not listed on that organization’s website as of Tuesday night.
Hayon was arraigned on Friday and released on $50,000 bail, which his attorney said came from “his community.” According to the Post, he was also charged with assault last year for closing a door on another person’s hand.
The Brooklyn Tea Party issued a statement online correcting previous reports listing Hayon as the group’s founder.
“Joseph Hayon has not been a active member of the Brooklyn Tea Party for almost a year. Joseph Hayon was the Second President of the Brooklyn Tea Party and was not the founder of the Brooklyn Tea Party,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, Brooklyn Young Republican Club head Glenn P. Nocera warned members in a separate statement that enemies within the GOP would use “guilt by association” against them because they had previously endorsed Hayon as a candidate.
“Those people are top Brooklyn Republican Party officials Russell Gallo and Gene Berardelli,” Nocera wrote. “There [sic] constant cyber bullying does not serve their boss Brooklyn Republican Party Chairman Craig Eaton well or our party.”
[h/t Addicting Info]