Grand Jury Indicts Locust Valley Teacher for Inappropriate Sexual Contact with 14 Students Benstock charged with 31 counts after additional victims came forward

MINEOLA, NY - Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced today that a Bayville resident has been indicted by a grand jury on 31 counts for inappropriate sexual contact with 14 children.

John E. Benstock, 47, of Laurel Place in Bayville, 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. He faces up to seven years in prison for each felony count. Benstock was arraigned today before the Hon. Norman St. George in Nassau County Court, Mineola. Bail was set at $500,000 bond or $250,000 cash. He is due back in court July 15, 2011.

Rice said that as early as 2000, Benstock, a Locust Valley teacher, engaged in inappropriate contact with students in orchestra classes at two Locust Valley elementary schools and during private lessons in the students’ homes. All of the children were under 11 years old when the charged events occurred.

Benstock was arrested on misdemeanor charges of Endangering the Welfare of a Child on May 9, 2011. Additional victims came forward following his arrest. The Locust Valley School District reassigned Benstock to his home, with pay, since his first arrest.

“Parents trusted this defendant to teach their children music, but he abused these innocent kids for his own sick pleasure” Rice said. “My office will aggressively prosecute this case to make sure this defendant never puts another child at risk again.”

The investigation was conducted by Detectives Edwin Trujillo and Reinaldo Pacheco of Nassau County Police Department’s Special Victims Squad and the District Attorney’s Special Victims Bureau. Assistant District Attorney Silvia Finkelstein is prosecuting the case for the District Attorney. Benstock is represented by Joseph Tacopina, Esq.

Anyone with information regarding additional victims is encouraged to contact the Nassau County Police Department Special Victims Squad at (516) 573-4022.

The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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