Last Update: 7/13/2020
The sexual abuse trial of former well-known Bay Area ballet teacher Viktor Kabaniaev continued on Tuesday, October 8 with testimony from the second victim.
The first victim appeared in court on Monday and testified that Kabaniaev raped her for the first time when she was 12 and that he did so at least 30 more times while she was studying with him. The rapes and sexual abuse allegedly occurred between 2000 and 2003.
Kabaniaev was arrested in early 2018 on 14 felony counts, including committing forcible lewd acts upon a child and rape and oral copulation with a child. He has pleaded not guilty to all of those charges. At the time of his arrest, he was teaching ballet at the Westlake School for Performing Arts in Daly City.
On Tuesday, the second woman testified that Kabanieav had sexually abused her in his apartment in San Bruno when she was 14 years old. This woman told the court that she started studying under Kabaniaev in 2008. She followed Kabaniaev to Westlake after he moved from an apprenticeship program he taught for Diablo Ballet.
At the time the case was approved for trial, detectives said that they believe there could be other victims who have not yet come forward.
Kabaniaev could face up to life in prison if found guilty.
Below, we’ve included some thoughts on the legal rights of ballet teacher sex abuse victims, shared by experienced attorney and habitual Legal Herald contributor, Bobby Thompson.
“Sexual predators can often be found in positions of trust. They will often exploit this same trust placed on them by their potential victims in order to commit heinous crimes. During my professional law career, I’ve (regrettably) encountered cases involving instructors and coaches in fields like youth sports, gymnastics, music, and even ballet who sexually assaulted their pupils,” Mr. Thompson explained.
Bobby continued, “Victims of sexual abuse have options for legal recourse in both criminal and civil courts. It’s important that the abuse is reported to law enforcement so that the predator can be held accountable by the criminal justice system. But in some cases, victims have additional options for legal recourse in the form of civil lawsuits. A lawsuit can provide justice in ways criminal courts fail to do so – including financial compensation for therapy costs, pain and suffering, and other related damages caused by the abuse.”