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Cuyahoga County prosecutors want dance teacher accused of sex crimes in custody by next week

A once revered and respected local dance teacher has now officially been indicted in Cuyahoga...
A once revered and respected local dance teacher has now officially been indicted in Cuyahoga County. He’s accused of raping and sexually assaulting his former students, some of them minors at the time.(Cassie Cotter)
Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 10:45 PM EDT
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CUYAHOGA COUNTY, Ohio (WOIO) - He was once an icon in the Northeast Ohio dance community, but now former dance instructor 35-year-old Desmond Beasley is facing dozens of criminal charges.

He’s accused of sexually assaulting his former students, some of them were children at the time.

Prosecutors said there are six victims in this case, but they told 19 News there were more like 15.

However, they couldn’t include all of them in this case because the statute of limitations had run out for some of these crimes.

“I blamed myself for so long,” explained Cassie Cotter. “It wasn’t until I reached out for help it made me realize that none of this was my fault.”

Last year, Cassie Cotter shared her horror story with 19 News.

She told us how her former dance teacher at Dance Dance Dance in Parma had groomed her since she was a child.

“He made me feel very safe and he made me feel like we were such good friends,” said Cotter. “I mean there was times that I would get out of work, and I would have a bouquet of flowers sitting on the hood of my car with a little note from him saying I hope your day was good, I hope these will brighten your day up even more like he made me feel very special at a time where I was really trying to find myself.”

That behavior escalated into sexually charged Snapchats and culminated in a sexual assault her freshman year of college.

“Especially when it comes to children and girls who look up to dance teachers and people who are in positions of authority, watching them groom these girls,” said Jennifer King, Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor. “Yeah, it’s disgusting.”

Cotter reported these crimes to Garfield Heights police and then more victims of the former dance teacher came forward, filing reports with several other police departments.

“It’s disappointing that we allow these adults to take this kind of control and then they manipulate and harm our children,” said King.

The more than year-long investigation concluded that Desmond Beasley had sexually assaulted three victims, two of those victims were juveniles at the time of the assaults.

Prosecutors said Beasley’s victims range in age from 13 to 18 years old. Beasley is facing dozens of charges including eight counts of rape, four counts of sexual battery, and one count of attempted rape.

Beasley is not in custody and has not responded to these charges.

“We do not know when we’ll have him,” King said. “We do have a very good understanding of where his whereabouts are but we’re not disclosing that information. Hopefully, we’ll have him in custody in the next week.”

Prosecutors say the incidents started back in September 2013 and happened as recently as February of this year.

“That has to do with a search warrant we did on his email accounts and there are additional child pornography charges that you see at the end of the indictment those are for him possessing that as recently as when we executed that search warrant,” King explained, adding that some of the child porn images were of his former students.

The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office wants to encourage anyone watching who thinks they may have been a victim to contact their office, they are still open to investigating any additional claims.

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