Howard dance teacher found guilty of sexual assault

May 25, 2004|By Laura Cadiz | Laura Cadiz,SUN STAFF

An Ellicott City ballet teacher was found guilty yesterday of sexually assaulting one of his students during private lessons - his second conviction stemming from allegations that he abused three young dancers.

Howard Circuit Judge James B. Dudley found Jose Anibal Macedo guilty of sexual child abuse and three counts of third-degree sexual offense in incidents involving a female student, who was 11 when the abuse began.

The Sun does not name victims of sexual assault.

"It's certainly comforting to know that this court, this judge, believed this child, who had to go through a very difficult process to reach some closure," prosecutor Mary Murphy said.

Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 13. Macedo is serving a six-year prison sentence for attempted rape and related convictions in the first case and is accused of assaulting a third student at his Advance Dance Academy on Baltimore National Pike.

The most recent trial began April 26, when the victim, who is now 15, testified Macedo touched her during lessons between April and May 2001 at his now-closed dance studio.

Macedo denied he touched the girl inappropriately. His lawyer, Thomas P. Bernier, maintained during closing arguments yesterday that the girl was not a credible witness, saying she waited nine months before telling someone other than her mother about the abuse and presented an unbelievable timeline.

Pre-trial motions in the third case were scheduled to begin yesterday but were postponed because the defense attorney was unable to be in court.

Sun staff writer Lisa Goldberg contributed to this article.

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