A BuzzFeed feature story from 2018 about a journalist who told a group of schoolchildren that he was gay was taken down just a day after it was announced that he had been brought up on child pornography charges.
Slade Sohmer, 44, the former editor-in-chief of the left-leaning video-driven news site The Recount, was freed on $100,000 bail on Monday after he was charged in Massachusetts court with possessing and disseminating “hundreds of child pornography images and videos.”
He has pleaded not guilty to two counts of possession of child pornography and two counts of dissemination of child pornography.
In May 2018, BuzzFeed News wrote up an item based on a viral social media thread that Sohmer posted to X, the platform that was then known as Twitter.
Sohmer’s X account has since been deactivated.
The story, which is still available on the Wayback Machine internet archive, was titled “People Are Touched By This Writer’s Conversation With A Bunch of Fourth Graders.”
The subheading of the story read: “Kids are books filled with blank pages.”
Sohmer, who was 38 years old at the time, relayed a story about a visit he paid to his mother’s fourth-grade class.
Sohmer’s mother, Susan Sohmer, worked at New Hyde Park Road School on Long Island, according to her social media page.
The Post left a message on Sohmer’s voicemail. BuzzFeed was not immediately available for comment.
On May 11, 2018, Slade Sohmer wrote on his social media that he was invited to his mother’s fourth-grade classroom to mark the “perfect confluence of Teacher Appreciation Week and Mother’s Day.”
He wrote that he spoke to the children about writing.
“Outside of that, I don’t have much in common with 10-year-olds, so I was nervous,” he wrote.
Slade Sohmer wrote that the fourth-graders were “PSYCHED” that a “new adult…wants to talk to them.”
“So we go over to the group corner, and the 20 of them sit cross-legged in a semi-circle looking at me in the chair,” he wrote.
Slade Sohmer then recalled the “personal questions” that he was peppered with, including “What’s the happiest moment of your life?”; “Do you have a girlfriend?”; “Do you have a wife or kids?”; and “Who do you live with?”
He then wondered whether he was “about to come out of the closet to these kids.”
“At this point I looked to my mother, who kind of nodded and mouthed something like ‘go ahead’,” Slade Sohmer wrote.
“So I said, ‘I live with my boyfriend’.”
After his “face reddened” and “the air flew out of the room for a split second,” Sohmer wrote that he was relieved that “none of these precocious f–kers, like, give a s–t.”
The BuzzFeed story was live as of Tuesday, but the link to the item was not working within 24 hours of several news reports about Sohmer’s indictment.
The Post has sought comment from the New Hyde Park-Garden City Park School District.
Court documents cited by The Berkshire Eagle earlier this week allege that Sohmer’s phone contained disturbing video clips showing boys believed to be as young as three years of age being raped and forced to perform sex acts by adults.
Assistant District Attorney Marianne Shelvey said this was one of the most “egregious” cases of its kind that she has come across.
If convicted, Sohmer faces minimum mandatory sentences of 10 years in state prison if convicted of dissemination of child pornography and five years if convicted of possession of child pornography.