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Piano teacher who sexually assaulted five female students sentenced to 75 days jail

Keith Fraser

(File photo)

(File photo)

A former piano teacher who sexually assaulted five of his female students has been sentenced to 75 days in jail, to be followed by a 21-month conditional sentence order and one year of probation.

In February, Yung Ping David Chen, 69, a highly regarded teacher in the Asian community, was convicted of the offences that occurred during lessons he gave at his Vancouver home.

The crimes involved girls between the ages of 11 and 19 and spanned a period of 19 years, from 1994 to 2013. None of the victims can be identified due to a publication ban imposed in the case.

Most of the offences involved Chen touching the breasts of his victims over their clothes and did not involve physical violence, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Catherine Murray said as she imposed sentence Monday.

"Without trivializing his offences, it is of note that the assaults were at the minor end of the scale of sexual assault," said the judge.

Murray found that the aggravating factors included that the offences involved a serious breach of trust by a man who had a reputation for being a fine piano teacher.

"In many cases the students were young. All of them were under considerable pressure from their parents to excel at piano, something that was important in the culture and their families," said the judge.

"Most of these girls found it difficult and indeed impossible to tell their families about what was going on. Instead, they suffered silently, trying to think of ways to stop him."

The mitigating factors included that Chen had no prior criminal record, was not seen to be a pedophile according to a report prepared by a psychologist and was at a low risk to re-offend.

In addition, the judge found that Chen was suffering from major depression from the charges and conviction and had significant support from family and friends.

"Mr. Chen stands before me a shattered man, once very proud. He is now stooped over, ashamed and humiliated. His piano teaching days are over, his way of earning a living done."

One of the girls provided a victim impact statement that said she felt violated and uncomfortable by Chen's crimes but that she and her family forgave Chen and hoped he'd come away a better person.

All but one of the offences committed by Chen occurred before Parliament prohibited conditional sentences to be served in the community for sex crimes against children.

The judge said in all of the circumstances, she was satisfied that Chen would not pose a risk to others by serving much of his sentence in the community.

She said that a conditional sentence order would also provide sufficient denunciation and deterrence of the crimes.

The conditions include that the first three months be served under house arrest, that he have no contact with the victims and that he not teach piano to anyone under the age of 16.

Chen was also ordered to provide a DNA sample and to remain on the sex offender registry for 20 years.

The Crown had sought a sentence of 40 to 44 months in jail, saying that a lengthy period of incarceration was needed to reflect the moral blameworthiness of the offender and to send a deterrent message to like-minded individuals. Chen's lawyer had argued for 90 days in jail, a 21-month conditional sentence order and two to three years of probation.