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Jury deliberations begin in Cleveland dance teacher's sexual assault trial

Terence Greene, 57, faces 72-count indictment
Posted at 5:49 PM, May 23, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-23 20:08:30-04

CLEVELAND — The jury in Terence Greene's rape trial began deliberating Tuesday to decide if the Cleveland dance teacher sexually assaulted eight former students over a 20-year period.

Greene, 57, was indicted on 72 felony charges, including rape, sexual battery, gross sexual imposition, kidnapping, felonious assault, and showing pornographic material to minors in 2020.

Closing arguments

During closing arguments Tuesday morning, Cuyahoga County prosecutors said they proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Greene, 57, sexually assaulted the eight students when he was their dance teacher at the Cleveland School of the Arts and Cuyahoga Community College between 1998 and 2019.

"Mr. Greene terrorized those two schools with his actions," said Cuyahoga County Assistant Prosecutor Fallon Kilbane McNally.

McNally went through each of the charges against Greene for the jury, which also include eight counts of felonious assault. She said Greene sexually assaulted his former students when he knew he was HIV-positive.

"Someone who is under the age of 18 cannot consent to engaging in sexual conduct with someone who is HIV-positive," she said. "They just can’t." Greene was diagnosed with HIV in 2004, according to court records.

Greene's defense attorney, W. Scott Ramsey, told the jury that prosecutors failed to provide sufficient evidence to prove his client's guilt.

"You got to get some evidence out here," he said. "And there’s none here. We can only go by what these alleged victims are saying."

Ramsey questioned why prosecutors didn't provide counseling records, medical records, or additional witnesses to corroborate the former students' claims.

"We don’t have any records, we don’t have any corroboration, we don’t have anything at all to substantiate, to corroborate what alleged victims have said," Ramsey said.

He also noted students could not recall the specific dates of the alleged sexual assaults and that the former students - now men - waited years to come forward.

However, prosecutors said it is not unusual for sexual assault victims to wait to disclose the crimes, especially when the alleged perpetrator is someone they know and respect.

"He had the talent. He had the charm. Those were his assets. They’re also his weapons. He used them to sexually assault these children," said Cuyahoga County Assistant Prosecutor Steve Szelagiewicz.

History of allegations

News 5 Investigator Sarah Buduson broke the story about the sexual assault allegations against Greene in July 2020 after some of the same former students filed a civil lawsuit against Greene.

RELATED: Cleveland dance teacher accused of sexually abusing students at Cleveland School of the Arts

The former students also filed a claim against the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, alleging the district turned a blind eye to Greene's behavior for years.

CMSD settled the lawsuit in 2021 for $3.25 million.

Greene resigned from his job at the Cleveland School of the Arts over sexual misconduct accusations in 2014.

Despite warnings, Cuyahoga Community College hired Greene to teach dance in 2015.

In 2019, one of Greene's students at Tri-C filed a report with Garfield Heights Police, alleging Greene sexually assaulted him at his home. The student's report launched the criminal investigations that led to the current 72-count indictment against Greene.

If convicted of all the charges, he will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

If the jury does not reach a verdict Tuesday, jurors will resume deliberations Wednesday morning.


Opening statements begin in trial of Cleveland dance teacher accused of sexual assault

Closing arguments tomorrow in trial of Cleveland dance teacher accused of sexually abusing students

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