“His hidden secret”: Broward Pediatrician could lose medical license due to child porn allegations. Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorneys Discuss Intricacies of Dr. Michael Mizrachy’s Case 

Plantation Pediatrician Michael Mizrachy is pictured in a mug shot after being arrested by Broward County Sheriff's office in Parkland for child porn allegations in South Florida

*Trigger warning: This article contains potentially disturbing content, including graphic descriptions of sexual abuse and references to and descriptions of pornographic images of children. 

 

Many families in the South Florida community are reeling after hearing the news that a once loved, trusted and well-revered Broward County Pediatrician was arrested and charged with child pornography crimes in January.

 

Pediatrician Michael Mizrachy, 49,  is facing 3 third-degree felony criminal charges related to child porn after a CyberTip led Broward County Sheriff’s Office Detective Erica Rocky (part of the South Florida Internet Crimes Against Children task force) to Mizrachy’s home in Parkland.

 

Most recently Mizrachy has requested the ability to continue to treat children online via telemedicine, according to a Feb. 27 article by Sun Sentinel. His criminal allegations include having photos of nude children younger than 10 years old on his computer - now he's petitioning Broward's court to have the ability to treat children online.

 

Despite efforts made to immediately suspend his medical license, Mizrachy still holds a valid licence to practice medicine in Florida despite his pending South Florida child porn charges. In order to treat children online, he would need his restrictions forbidding his use of computers lifted. His lawyer Richard Merlino claims Mizrachy could install software to block porn so he could continue to care for sick children via online virtual health, telemedicine, appointments. Mizrachy is also banned from having contact with anyone under the age of 18, which is another hurdle the Broward doctor would have to overcome in order to treat children online.

 

The Pornographic Videos & Images Mizrachy had of Children

 

The elicit video that triggered a cybertip and ultimately Mizrachy’s arrest was a 68-second child porn video Mizrachy emailed to himself in June, labeling it as “Teen Video”. In the video is a “small prepubescent female child,” according to BSO’s report. He also had the video downloaded to his device, and confirmed at the time of his arrest that as a physician he was aware that the person in the video was in fact a child minor. 

 

*Trigger warning: graphic depictions of sexual assault and porn:

 

In the video is a child, appearing to be between 8-10 years old in a pink tank top and no pants or underwear. She’s lying on her back with her legs spread apart. An adult white male with an erect penis sticking out of the fly of his underwear repetitively penetrates the child’s vagina. At the end of the video, he pulls out of the child and then the child is seen using her hands to rub her vagina.

 

After this video was discovered online, BSO’s South Florida Internet Crimes Against Children task force traced the user to Mizrachy and by the end of the month BSO had a search warrant signed by a judge. 

 

More than a dozen photographs taken on Mizrachy’s iPhone of small children in bathing suits, underwear or short shorts were then also found. BSO noted that none of the children appear to know they’re being photographed. At the time of his arrest, Mizrachy admitted to police that he took the photos. Most children appeared between 13 and 15, with at least one of them being only 10 years old. 

 

Most of the photos were taken behind children with a “focus on the buttocks or vaginal area,” BSO’s report states. Mizrachy told police the children he photographed were his own daughter’s friends who would come over to the house. Some photos show children sleeping, at the pool or in underwear and training bras. 

 

Taking photos of Children was Sexually Exciting to Mizrachy: His “hidden secret” confessions 

 

hands hold a booklet that reads The legal dangers of child porn possession in South Florida. Written by Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorneys, this is a free resourceMizrachy admitted to BSO “he took the photographs because it was sexually exciting.”

 

He said he’d never tell his wife or children about them, as they were only for him.

 

An Oct. 20 search warrant was executed at Mizrachy’s $800, 000 home where he lived with his wife (who’s since filed for divorce) and two children.    

 

After police read Mizrachy his Miranda rights (essentially, informing him he has the right to remain silent and to have an attorney) he admitted to having a private email address that he’s used for several years “as his hidden secret” to view and save pornography. 

 

Mizrachy admitted that the child porn video that alerted police to his conduct was sent to him by someone on the application Kik, then, he said, he emailed it to himself. He initially lied about the age he thought the victim was, but after police asserted he as a pediatrician would know the age of the child he agreed that she was prepubescent.

 

Not only did he have illegal videos and take secret photos of children who likely presumed safety in his home, he also admitted to chatting online with children in a sexual manner. Mizrachy even admitted that when talking to a child on Kik, he got the child to send him several photographs - some of the child’s face, others of her nude body, including her vagina.

 

Mizrachy didn’t hold much back from the police on that October morning. He went as far to describe to the police the youngest age of children he finds sexually attractive.

 

He had multiple email accounts he used to store elicit materials, such as videos labeled “Legal teen video” sorted into folders within the email servers. BSO reports redacted the names of his email storage files. 

 

From his confessions, BSO concluded Mizrachy “knowingly and willfully” possessed the 68-second, graphic pornographic video of a child likely 10 or younger. The video was uploaded to 2 separate accounts on 2 separate occasions. Mizrachy admitted to knowingly saving the video. 

 

BSO noted in their report: “Mizrachy, is a currently practicing pediatrician, and in a position of trust, has access to children of all ages while at his place of work.” He was formerly employed at West Broward Pediatrics in Plantation.

 

A devastating blow: Mizrachy’s wife, Michele, knew nothing about her husband’s “hidden secret” 

 

Michele Mizrachy spoke out after her husband's arrest  - she said she didn’t know anything about her husband's dark secrets and immediately filed for divorce when she became aware of his arrest, according to Parkland Talk.

 

“In recent days, my world came crashing down,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “I’m shocked, blindsided, and sickened by the charges. After discovering that my former spouse harbored secrets and an online life about which I knew nothing, I immediately filed for divorce, ending a marriage of 23 years. I am continuing to learn disturbing details at the same time as everyone else through media reports.”

 

Parkland Talk reported Michele called the situation a devastating blow and a living nightmare. In her post, she thanked the community for respecting the family’s privacy. 

 

The Criminal Consequences of the Florida Child Porn Charges Mizrachy is Facing 

 

Officially arrested Jan 12, Mizrachy is currently facing 3 third-degree felonies. Additional charges could be looming.  

 

Mizrachy’s been charged with 2 counts of child porn possession, and 1 count of computer pornography and internet crime (for misrepresenting his age and using a computer to solicit, lure & seduce a child). 

 

Consequences for crimes vary on specific details of the case, the individual, the judge and a few other factors. But as South Florida criminal defense attorneys with experience defending people facing sex crime allegations in Florida, we can share some possible outcomes. 

 

Consequences of Possession of child porn in Florida

  • It’s illegal in the state of Florida to knowingly possess, control or even intentionally view any photo or video that you know contains sexual conduct by a child. 
  • In Florida, Possession of Child Pornography is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison, 5 years of probation, and a $5,000 fine.
  • This means, Dr. Mizrachy could certainly be facing up to 5 years in state prison. The punishment can be any of the above listed penalties, or all of them. In terms of punishment, Mizrachy’s “worst case” scenario could be 5 years in prison, with 5 years of probation to follow, and needing to pay a $5,000 fine.
  • Possible enhancements:
    • When it comes to Child Porn Possession in Florida: The crime can be more severe depending on the number of child porn images or videos someone has, and the content depicted in the images or videos can also mean more severe criminal charges.
    • Depending on the types of child pornography, or how many total images or videos Mizrachy was found in possession of, he could potentially find himself facing more counts of child porn or a second-degree felony or even a first-degree felony. 
    • A second-degree felony, for example, carries consequences of up to 15 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000 in Florida. 

Consequences of Computer pornography and internet crimes in Florida 

  • Computer pornography in Florida includes any person who through a computer solicits sexual conduct of, or with, a minor (according to state law).
  • In Florida, computer pornography (as part of a child exploitation prevention act) is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison, 5 years of probation, and a $5,000 fine.

What kind of punishment will Mizrachy get for his child porn possession allegations if convicted? 

 

While we can’t predict the future, we can tell you what’s possible based on the child porn charges that Dr. Mizrachy is currently facing.  

  1. It’s possible that Dr. Mizrachy gets sentenced to no prison time. None of the 3 third-degree felonies he is currently facing require prison time, so it’s possible that he could get sentenced to some sort of probation and avoid prison altogether. 
  2. Most likely, the maximum time he would get sentenced to prison for would be 5 years. His current charges have maximum sentence limits of 5 years in prison. It is possible, that if he were sentenced to 5 years in prison for all three of his child pornography charges, that a judge could order him to serve the prison time consecutively - meaning, his sentences could “stack” to be 5+5+5 years for 15 years total in prison. That, however, is quite rare and even if Mizrachy is sentenced to the maximum of  5 years in prison on each of his charges, it’s more likely that a judge would order him to serve the sentences concurrently - meaning in a single period of 5 years, he would satisfy the sentence of 5 years for each crime. 

The additional Florida criminal charges and consequences that are possibly looming for Mizrachy, given the details he spilled to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office 

 

Given the nature of his case, there are other criminal charges that could still possibly be brought against Mizrachy in addition to the child porn charges he’s currently facing. 

 

Again, we’re not working on the case, but we know the legal system in Broward County well as a criminal defense team of former prosecutors and public defenders so we’re telling you only what could be possible. 

 

“None of the children appear to know they are being photographed”: What this means for Mizrachy 

 

This line in the BSO arrest report could be the basis for additional charges against Mizrachy. 

 

Given that Mizrachy took photos of children in his home,  a charge of video voyeurism of a minor could come into play. Had Mizrachy NOT admitted taking the photos was ‘sexually exciting,’ he might have had a solid legal defense against this charge, but in light of his admission it’s quite possible he could face a voyeurism charge. 

 

Video Voyeurism, as could be brought against Mizrachy, would be a second-degree felony in Florida. The charge includes using an imaging device (such as an iPhone camera) to record a person - without their consent - while dressing, undressing, or privately exposing their body “at a place and time when that person has reasonable expectation of privacy” for the purpose of sexual arousal. In his case, you can certainly imagine a child had a reasonable expectation of privacy when in a training bra or when sleeping at his home.  

 

If Florida state prosecutors were to bring this charge against Mizrachy, it would be a second-degree felony as Mizrachy is over 18 and the children (minors) were under 16 years old. 

 

Legally speaking, if none of the images show children unclothed, a charge of video voyeurism may not hold. It is possible that a defense of “child erotica” (which is not illegal) could be employed by Mizrachy’s defense attorney, but that defense would fail if the photographs are of a “lewd” nature. 

 

Will Mizrachy have to complete a Sex Offender Registration?

 

Depending on the exact nature of the photographs, Mizrachy could be required to register as a sex offender in Florida. There are also additional charges that could be brought against Mizrachy which would certainly require him to have to register as a sex offender if convicted.

 

Could Mizrachy face stalking charges? 

 

Stalking involves a person maliciously following, harassing, or cyberstalking another person. While Mizrachy might have been following children around in his home to take photographs, he likely will not face any type of stalking charge. 

 

To be charged with stalking, prosecution would have to substantiate that victims were aware of being followed or photographed and that it made them experience fear. Since there wasn’t awareness of the acts (that we know of), there isn’t an element of fear which means Mizrachy will not likely face any type of Florida stalking charge

 

Could Mizrachy face sexual cyberharassment charges? 

 

Rossen Law Firm’s attorneys don’t seem to think Mizrachy will face sexual cyber harassment charges, and here’s why.

 

Sexual Cyberharassment, commonly also known as revenge porn, is the distribution of consensually obtained sexually explicit images of another person without the depicted person’s permission, according to Florida law. A first offense for sexual cyberharassment is a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida, punishable by up to 1 year in jail, 1 year of probation, and a $1,000 fine

 

One might think that Mizrachy could face a Florida Sexual Cyberharassment charge due to chatting with children in a sexual manner, receiving a child porn video on KIK and then distributing it online (via emailing it to himself), and requesting sexual images of a minor on KIK (and subsequently distributing to himself online).

 

Our defense attorneys don’t think he meets the criteria to be charged with Sexual Cyberharassment in Florida, however, because the charge deals with the original sex act being consensual, and then the distribution of it both being non-consensual AND done with the purpose of causing the victim emotional distress.  In the case of Mizrachy, as far as we can tell, it appears much more like the sexual chatting and receiving and sharing of materials is done so for personal pleasure - not to cause the victims distress. 

 

Mizrachy could almost certainly face additional solicitation of a minor criminal charges

 

Soliciting a Child for Sex is a sex crime in Florida, and is defined as: the use of an online service, internet service, or electronic device to seduce, solicit, lure, or entice a minor, or person believed to be a minor, to engage in unlawful sexual conduct (FLA. STAT. § 847.0135 - 2019).   

 

Soliciting a Child for Sex is a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15  years in prison, 15 years of probation, and a $10,000 fine.

 

Depending on the chats that Mizrachy engaged in with minors, and this one 15-year-old in particular being a known victim, he could very easily see additional charges of solicitation of a minor added on to his criminal indictment by Florida State Prosecutors. 

It’s possible that the crime of solicitation of a minor could be a third-degree felony, but if Mizrachy misrepresented his own age it would certainly be a second-degree felony. 

 

If a charge of solicitation of a minor is brought against Mizrachy as a second-degree felony, it would carry with it a mandatory sexual offender registration in the state of Florida. Depending on the specific nature of the chats, he could even need to additionally register as a sexual predator in Florida

 

Additionally, Soliciting a Child for Unlawful Sex is assigned a Level 7 offense severity ranking under Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code. Without any grounds for a Judge to grant a downward departure sentence, a judge is required to sentence a person convicted of Soliciting a Child for Sex to a minimum sentence of 21 months in prison. Without special circumstance, this means Mizrachy would be guaranteed at least 21 months in prison for soliciting a child for sex in South Florida if he were to be convicted. 

 

What kind of criminal defense  does Mizrachy have against his Florida child porn charges?: Mizrachy didn’t even attempt to protect his rights, and effectively handed police their case against him - word by word 

 

Frankly? Mizrachy doesn’t have too much of a legal defense left. Speaking with law enforcement definitely made their case against him “too easy.”

 

In a child porn case such as Mizrachy’s,  the police’s evidence that he committed the crime is pretty overwhelming. In Florida, Child Porn Possession is basically a “per se offense.” This means that there really is no legal defense. If you have possession of child porn, you are almost certainly guilty in the eyes of Florida law. Even acknowledging the phone or computer with child porn on it is yours is already destroying your chance at a successful legal criminal defense. 

 

If you’re ever under arrest for child porn allegations, in order to protect your rights you should never admit that a phone or computer belongs to you - even if a phone is taken from your pocket and has your name written on it in big, bright letters.

 

If you keep your mouth entirely shut, then you at the very least take away a confession which is the strongest form of evidence.

 

Mizrachy, of course, did not do this - in his first encounter with the police he admitted to knowingly possessing the child porn video, to taking the photos, to his sexual preferences, to his sexual excitement that motivated him taking the photos, and he admitted to his “hidden secret” email accounts which had videos and images of child porn organized throughout the accounts. 

 

Had Mizrachy stayed completely silent when police came to his home, police might have been forced into the realm of hearsay and circumstantial evidence. Now, his counsel and criminal defense team seems limited to the options of suppressing his confession. 

 

In our opinion, as defense lawyers with experience defending South Floridians from child porn and sex crime allegations, chances are that given he was a physician, and based on his statements, there is likely no way he’s in the realm of being able to claim either incompetence or insanity. 

 

Hiring a lawyer immediately and not saying a word to police could have changed everything for Mizrachy and the allegations against him. 

 

Given what we know of the case, Mizrachy’s strongest mitigation is likely going to be mental health, but that is going to be very difficult in his case. 

 

In order to even attempt a mental health defense, his defense counsel would probably have to have him undergo a polygraph (a lie detector test) and full psychosexual evaluation and sexual risk assessment (which would examine his sexual interests, attitudes and behaviors to see if there may be deviance issues and to help elevate his potential risk to reoffend in the future). These tests should be done privately by his defense team so the prosecution cannot see results, to determine how predatory he really is. 

 

Some more details of Mizrachy’s January Arrest for Child Porn allegations: 

 

Mizrachy was arrested and officially charged with the crimes Jan. 13, 2021; he entered a not guilty plea (which is standard at this point in a case for anyone facing criminal charges) and bonded out of jail.

 

His release conditions include standard supervised pretrial release conditions as well as an order to not have contact with any minors except for his own biological children -  while supervised by their mother. He also had to surrender his passport to his attorney, Richard Merlino, and cannot possess any device with internet access. 

 

The investigation is ongoing. BSO ICAC detectives are asking anyone with information regarding this case or anyone whose child may have been a victim of Mizrachy, to contact BSO ICAC Detective Erica Rockey at 954-888-1570. If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS (8477) or online at www.browardcrimestoppers.org

 

Could Mizrachy lose his Florida medical license? Are there more local victims of pediatrician Mizrachy?

 

Detectives say there is currently no evidence that Mizrachy exploited children in his office, according to a Sun Sentinel article.  As of Jan. 14, however, there also had been no search conducted of Mizrachy’s office.

 

After Mizrachy’s arrest, a lawmaker is calling for the doctor’s medical license to be revoked or at least immediately suspended while he faces three child pornography charges,” the article notes.

 

State Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation, said Mizrachy had been her kids’ doctor — someone she now calls ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing that I handed my children to’ during office appointments at West Broward Pediatrics,” Sun Sentinel reported. Book sent a letter to Florida Board of Medicine Chairman Dr. Zachariah P. urging the agency overseeing physicians to stop Mizrachy from gaining “inappropriate access to children in medical settings.”

 

“This predatory physician used his position of power and trust to gain access to children,” Book wrote to the medical board. “His deviant predilections and illegal activities pose a unique and targeted threat to the children of Broward County and beyond,” the Sun Sentinel reported.

 

If you, or someone you know, is dealing with a pornography or child pornography addiction - there is help.

  • You should know that in the state of Florida, if you come across Child Porn you should report it to local law enforcement - there is criminal immunity built in for people who report child porn in Florida
  • Porn addiction hotlines:
  • You can call any of these numbers to be connected with someone to talk anonymously about pornography addiction. These hotlines are typically 24/7 and can provide immediate counseling and support as well as recommend local treatment programs and support groups. 
    • Sexaholics Anonymous: 1-866-424-8777
    • Sex Addicts Anonymous: 1-800-477-8191
    • Addictions Hotline: 1-844-276-2777
    • National Institute on Drug Abuse: 1-800-622-4357
    • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: 1-800-662-4357
  • In Florida, there are Sexual Addiction Support Groups as well as Sexual Addiction Treatment Centers and Rehabs. If you or someone you know is interested in a treatment or rehab center - give our team a call. We know many area therapists in South Florida and know of some of the best treatment and rehab centers that have great reputations. We can help you or your loved one find a place you trust. 
    • This blog at Recovery Village offers other insightful resources such as types of therapeutic options and support groups. 
 

If you, or someone you know, is currently a victim of child pornography or childhood sexual abuse (or was in the past) - there is help.

 

Resources for Florida victims of child pornography and their families

Section 7 titled “The Justice System Response to Victims” in a Florida Victims of Crime Guidebook titled “Improving the Response to Victims of Child Pornography,” outlines that child pornography crimes may be prosecuted at the federal, state, or local level. 

 

“In 2009, about 10 percent of child pornography production cases and one-third of possession and distribution cases involved federal charges, with the remainder charged at the state or local levels,” according to the report. 

 

Victims of child pornography “have certain rights and interests relating to the criminal justice process. In all cases, victims have an interest in being treated fairly, and in being protected from additional trauma caused by their participation in the investigation and prosecution of the case,” the report states.  

 

Victims of child pornography in Florida also have rights related to notification,  protection and compensation - the scope of these rights vary depending on if the case is in the state or federal criminal justice system - but these rights do apply to ALL victims. 

 

If you are facing child pornography charges in Florida, or need resources or legal assistance as someone struggling with a porn addiction or as someone who is a victim of child porn, please don’t hesitate to give our office a call. 

 

If we can help you, we will. 

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