2:48 PM EDT, July 6, 2011
MINEOLA, N.Y. (PIX11)
A Long Island music teacher has been charged with sexually abusing at least 14 students that were under his supervision, authorities announced Wednesday.
According to Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, John E. Benstock, 47, of Bayville was indicted on 31 counts for inappropriate sexual contact with the children.
Benstock, a Locust Valley teacher, is charged with 15 felony counts of course of sexual contact against a child, two felony counts of sexual abuse in the first degree, and 14 misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
Officials believe Benstock engaged in the inappropriate behavior as early as 2000 where he allegedly abused students during orchestra classes at two Locust Valley elementary schools and during private lessons in the victims' homes.
The victims, who were not identified, were all under the age of 11 at the time of the alleged abuse.
Benstock was initially arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a child in a recent case on May 9, but charges were upgraded after several additional victims came forward in wake of his arrest.
At the time of the initial arrest, Benstock was reassigned to his home with pay.
"Parents trusted [Benstock] to teach their children music, but he abused these innocent kids for his own sick pleasure" Rice said in a statement Wednesday. "My office will aggressively prosecute this case to make sure this defendant never puts another child at risk again."
He faces up to seven years in prison for each felony count. Benstock was arraigned Wednesday in Nassau County Court in Mineola. He remains in custody where bail was set at $500,000 bond or $250,000 cash. He is due back in court July 15, 2011.
Anyone with information regarding additional victims is urged to contact the Nassau County Police Department Special Victims Squad at (516) 573-4022. All calls will remain confidential.
Copyright © 2014, WPIX-TV, New York