Groningen dance teacher denies sexually assaulting students
The owner of a large dance school in Groningen denied performing sexual acts with students and teachers. Khalid A. (38) is suspected of raping, assaulting, or attempting to assault thirteen people since 2015. This happened, among other things, during stretching exercises. "Not true," A. said in court in Groningen on Tuesday.
A. ran Groningen Dance Center (GDC), which has since closed, since 2004. Some of the victims had been dancing there for years and knew him well. At GDC, hip-hop, break dance, modern dance and ballet were taught. Before the closure, the school had more than 450 students and thirteen teachers. Most instructors were students there first. The school continued elsewhere, under different leadership.
Most of the victims were minors. According to the Public Prosecution Service, A. abused his position. He is said to have told some of the victims that they would not achieve their ambitions - for example, to work as a professional dancer in America - without him. The judge concluded from witness statements that A. was on a pedestal. Students were also afraid of him because he could be very critical.
A said that there was one-on-one stretching with him,but at the request of the other and not behind closed doors. He also had private contact with some students and had fatherly conversations with them. A. said he was involved with his students. "But I kept a certain distance." He said comments he made about someone's body had no sexual charge.
In 2017, A.'s behavior came under discussion within the dance school. He would have gone too far with massages and made indecent proposals. According to A., things were misinterpreted and twisted and there was a witch hunt. In the autumn of 2020, A. again became discredited and charges were filed. He has been in custody since September.
A. stated that a few former teachers want to discredit him and urged the rest to file charges. "Then things would get stronger. There was peer pressure. But I don't blame the others. They got carried away."
The Public Prosecution Service will demand a sentence on Thursday.
Reporting by ANP.