His students recalled teacher Jonathan Deutsch as friendly, funny and a little flirtatious before he disappeared from the classroom suddenly last January.
The same shocked kids were reeling in disbelief and disgust Thursday at Leon M. Goldstein High School for the Sciences as Deutsch sat inside a federal prison cell, busted on child pornography charges.
“I feel so weirded out, so creeped out, that such a nice, honest man could have done such things,” a 16-year-old junior girl told the Daily News. “I’m just in shock.”
The teen was near tears as she recalled the 34-year-old Brooklyn man once considered by a number of kids as the school’s best teacher.
“Everybody’s in shock,” she continued. “Everybody is just very mad and aggravated, because everyone looked up to him and everybody loved him.”
Deutsch was busted on five counts of sexual exploitation of a child over his alleged explicit online chats with minors between the ages of 10 and 16. He even persuaded a transgender 13-year-old to send along naked photos.
“What a disgrace!” said parent Lisa Addeo, a PTA member and mother of a 15-year-old student. “What possesses you to do that? These are children. These kids trust you. What are you doing?”
The teacher, who used the online aliases “Sam Morgan” and “Jay Stern,” was held without bail and shipped to the Metropolitan Detention Center after a Wednesday arraignment in Brooklyn Federal Court.
“A lot of my friends felt close to him and he was their favorite teacher,” one 11th-grader told the News. “It was a shock to a lot of people. When we saw the news, it was surprising to me too because you don’t really assume that your teacher is gonna become someone like that.”
A 16-year-old junior recalled taking an English class with the relaxed and easygoing Deutsch. The teacher chatted with the kids about his girlfriend and how the couple often went to the movies.
“Now people are going to be saying, ‘Oh, he looked at me weird. Oh, he freaked me out,’” said the student. “But he seemed like he was a normal guy. You would never expect this.”
Maria Zizak, whose son was a student of the accused pervy instructor, said she was just as stunned as anyone to hear about the sordid allegations. She was surprised that school officials didn’t notify parents of the details after Deutsch disappeared from the classroom without explanation earlier this year.
“He’s probably just a sick person, and he probably couldn’t seek help because he would not have a job,” said Zizak.”Those people have no way how to seek help.”