WASHINGTON, August 9 (RIA Novosti) – A music teacher who trained at the Moscow Conservatory and runs music schools in New York has been accused of sexually abusing a 9-year-old girl, and authorities are investigating whether there may be other victims, The New York Daily News reported Friday.
Ilya Lehman, 70, has three locations for The Early Ear, a music and dance school in New York. He instructs children as young as 4 months old in music, according to the company website.
Speaking through a Russian interpreter, he pleaded not guilty in a Manhattan courtroom Thursday to charges of sex abuse and a course of sexual misconduct against a child, the paper reported.
The alleged assaults took place between September 2011 and April 2013. When confronted by the girl’s mother, Lehman allegedly dispatched a lawyer to offer her a refund. He also offered to shutter his business and leave the country for a year, prosecutors claim.
Lehman did leave the country but was arrested upon his return to New York on July 15. Deeming Lehman a flight risk, the judge ordered him to be held without bail, the paper reported.
Lehman has a doctorate in music from the Moscow Conservatory and pioneered a system of early musical education in the USSR.
“The most important point, that kids love you,” he told The New York Observer in 2004.