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Sexual Abuse Claims – Rock Conservatory

The case in brief:

Parents and students at the Conservatory (Music School), are outraged by alleged episodes of sexual harassment and abuse. They denounce a teacher, who has already been suspended and interviewed by the Judiciary Police.

The teacher denies complaints and returns accusations.

Families transfer students.

Former student comes from abroad to witness what he has experienced.

School states that it has complied with the law, and will reinstate the employee after the holidays.

In more detail:

The coordinator of the Professional Course in Contemporary Dance at the Conservatory – Professional School of the Arts of Madeira, Eng.º Luiz Peter Clode, Sergey Abakumov, is being investigated by the Judiciary Police (PJ) for alleged sexual practices and sexual harassment of minors.

Further investigations by local newspaper, JM, show that the teacher is accused of having had sex with some of his students and enticing young minors.  This practice, they say, has been going on since 2011, but only came to light when the family of a student complained to the authorities in February.

In this specific case, the teacher harassed the student, who is receiving psychological support and who revealed several messages, showing that the teacher had offered to give him a skateboard and other gifts if he would go to his house window, as he missed him.

Defending himself, Sergey Abakumov, who has been investigated by the Judicial Police (PJ) stated that he has never tried to seduce or coerce any of his students. He went on to say, that in this case, he only became close to the student, without any sexual intentions, saying that the boy was talented, but that he was a drug user, and as such, suffers from hallucinations.

However, the parents presented evidence that contradicted him and proved that he had been sending compromising messages. Furthermore, the boy’s parents carried a series of tests, allegedly valid for the period of six months prior to the teacher’s accusation. The boy tested negative for various types of drugs, including cocaine, cannabinoids and benzodiazepines.

Asked by JM about the suspicions of sexual harassment the Regional Secretary for Education offered no new evidence, simply reiterating that the situation had only become known in February, and that the teacher in question had been suspended for the maximum period allowed by law, and returned to school on the 18th of July, once the school had closed.

Receiving psychological support like her son, the mother revealed that the teacher had tried to entice her son, and in a tearful statement, added:

“My son was very afraid of the teacher. He tried to arrange meetings and even give him a lift. .. my son had to go through all this.”

The current situation is causing grave concern for education ministers, especially as three of the teachers students transferred from the Conservatory this year.

Moreover, a former student will travel from abroad to Madeira to testify against the teacher. The man, now an adult, completed the course about ten years ago and will travel to the Region as a witness against Sergey Abakumov, as he is also an alleged victim of sexual abuse. A situation that was confirmed to the newspaper by his father.

The current investigation is being carried out by officers of the Judicial Police, Public Security Police and the Regional Secretary for Education, Science and Technology.

Samantha Gannon

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