Ballet dancer

Yat-Sen Chang: a ballet dancer convicted of sexual assault

Yat-Sen Chang, 49, was found guilty by Isleworth Crown Court in London on Tuesday of 12 counts of sexual assault and one count of assault by penetration, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said. ) in a statement sent to CNN.

Chang assaulted the four women, aged 16 to 18 at the time, with inappropriate massage while working at the English National Ballet and Young Dancers Academy, the CPS said.

The crimes took place from December 2009 to February 2016, and a police investigation was opened in April 2016 after a victim reported the abuse.

In the UK, victims of sexual offenses enjoy lifelong anonymity from the time they make an allegation.

In one incident, Chang asked a victim to lie down and began massaging his leg before moving his hands up, the CPS said, adding that the victim got worried and told him to stop. .

In another incident with the same woman, the CPS said, Chang led the victim to the men’s locker room, stripped and tried to hug her.

“Yat-Sen Chang used his position as a famous and trusted ballet teacher to train and sexually assault teenage dancers as part of his training,” said CPS’s Nahid Mannan.

“At 20 years their senior, Chang would have been well aware that his conduct was grossly inappropriate and predatory. Yet he used his power and influence to sexually abuse and intimidate his young victims,” Mannan added.

Mannan said that throughout the trial, Chang claimed that although he advised students to get a massage or stretch to help tight calves, he did not offer to massage the students himself. even and only touched the students to correct their posture during class.

“However, the prosecution’s strong case, which included evidence provided by the victims in pre-recorded video interviews, enabled the jury to convict Chang of his crimes,” Mannan said.

The Metropolitan Police said in a statement on Tuesday that Chang was unanimously found guilty of 13 counts and acquitted of one count.

Detective Constable Helen Larson, of the Met’s West Region Child Abuse Unit, said: ‘Chang is a dangerous and predatory individual who targeted these young victims. He abused his position confidence and power to come after them when they were most vulnerable.”

Judge Edward Connell told Chang his offense “has escalated” and said the dancer faced a “long custodial sentence”, the PA news agency reported. He will be sentenced on June 18.

Chang is Cuban and lives in the German city of Kiel, PA said. He joined the English National Ballet in 1993 and was a principal dancer until 2011, when he danced in ‘The Nutcracker’, ‘Coppelia’ and ‘Sleeping Beauty’, according to his profile at the Theater. Kiel.

Chang said during the trial that he had “no idea” why the allegations were being made against him and denied touching any of the plaintiffs inappropriately or sexually, PA reported.

CNN attempted to contact Chang’s representatives and reached out to the English National Ballet for comment.

Following legal advice, the Kiel Theater board decided that Chang would be “suspended immediately,” a spokesperson told CNN in a statement. “The theater will consider other steps,” they added.