Dance instructor's trial postponed in second case

He is accused of sexually abusing young student

November 04, 2003|By Gus G. Sentementes | Gus G. Sentementes,SUN STAFF

A Howard County Circuit Court judge postponed yesterday the trial of an Ellicott City ballet teacher charged with sexual abuse in a second case involving a student.

Judge Dennis M. Sweeney rescheduled the trial of Jose Anibal Macedo, who is serving a six-year sentence after he was convicted in July of sexually abusing another young student, until Dec. 8 because Macedo recently hired a new lawyer. The lawyer, Thomas P. Bernier, is an associate in the Baltimore office of Segal McCambridge Singer & Mahoney Ltd., according to the firm's Web site.

In court yesterday, Macedo, 42, wore a neck brace from injuries he suffered in a car accident while on his way to court for his sentencing last month. In the second case, he is charged with child abuse and related sexual offenses involving a female pupil during private lessons at his Ellicott City dance studio over a two-month period in 2001, according to police charging documents.

The girl - who entered therapy after telling her mother that she no longer wanted to live - reported the alleged abuse to her therapist, and police began investigating in February of last year, the documents state. She did not tell her mother earlier that she had been abused because she believed she needed Macedo to train her successfully as a dancer, the charging documents said.

The girl, now 14, was 11 years old when the alleged abuse is said to have begun.

The Sun does not publish the names of alleged victims of sexual assault.

The new date for Macedo's trial, Dec. 8, was supposed to be the start of another trial on charges of sexual abuse against Macedo involving a third student. It was not rescheduled yesterday.

Macedo was convicted in July of attempted rape, child abuse and related sexual offenses involving a pre-teen girl during more than two years of private ballet lessons at his studio in the 9300 block of Baltimore National Pike.

Despite his conviction, Macedo has continued to have the support of many in the community, his attorney said yesterday. "There are a lot of people who aren't willing to accept the allegations," Bernier said.

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