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Tri-C named in new lawsuit against Cleveland dance teacher accused of sexually abusing students

Posted at 11:49 AM, Sep 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-04 19:07:33-04

CLEVELAND — One day after a Cuyahoga County grand jury handed up a 74-count indictment against him, a second civil lawsuit has been filed against well-known Cleveland dance teacher, 54-year-old Terence M. Greene.

The new lawsuit alleges Greene raped a 19-year-old male who was his student at the Tri-C Creative Arts Academy.

RELATED: View a PDF of the full lawsuit here.

It also alleges Tri-C officials ignored red flags that should have prevented them from hiring Greene.

It is the second lawsuit filed against Greene over similar allegations in the last two months.

Latest allegations

The latest lawsuit alleges the student was sexually assaulted in the basement of Greene's Garfield Heights home in October 2019.

The student filed a report with Garfield Heights police in January 2020 after telling his mother about the incident, according to documents obtained by News 5.

The report says the sexual assault occurred after Greene invited the student to his home one evening to “teach him a gospel dance for an upcoming show.”

It also says the student’s mother told police he quit dancing after the alleged assault and became “very quiet and distant and stayed in his room a lot.”

"As a rape victim, as a young man who was raped by one of his teachers, it was devastating," said Ryan Fisher, the victims' rights attorney representing the plaintiffs in both cases. "It's changed the trajectory of his life."

Fisher believes there are more victims and would like to hear from them.

Greene resigned from Tri-C less than two weeks after the police report was filed and was asked by school officials to refrain from coming onto their campus or speaking with students.

A second chance

The lawsuit also alleges Tri-C failed to protect its students by hiring Greene.

"They (Tri-C) had several opportunities to root this out earlier," said Fisher. "Anybody who has any ties to this, albeit, negligence or carelessness or recklessness needs to be held accountable."

Records shows Tri-C ran a background check on Greene that revealed a red flag about his employment history, but still hired him to teach dance to children ages 3-18 at their Creative Arts Academy in October 2015. Records show Greene was promoted to full-time in February 2017.

"The background check has a big red X on it that says allegations with students from his former employer and they went ahead and hired him anyway," said Fisher. "They ignored it. They didn’t investigate it. I don’t even know if they read it."

History of accusations

What did the background check reveal?

Just months before Greene was hired at Tri-C, he resigned from the Cleveland School of the Arts after “allegations of improper conduct surfaced,” according to CMSD spokesperson Roseann Canfora. No criminal charges were filed.

Greene was also charged with four counts of unlawful sex with a minor after a CSA student reported Greene repeatedly sexually abused him in 2003.

Greene went to trial on those charges. He was acquitted in July 2004 and immediately returned to work teaching dance to CSA students.

"Tri-C had absolutely no business hiring Terence Greene, they had no business putting him around students and he just picked up where he left off at CSA," said Fisher.

Tri-C's response

Tri-C declined our request for an on-camera interview. Instead, a spokesperson shared the following statement:

"The College respectfully declines your offer for an on-camera interview given the ongoing investigation of allegations against Mr. Greene. Our statement and the other documents provided in July remain the best sources regarding the College’s actions in this matter, and our commitment to maintaining a learning and working environment that is free from sexual misconduct."

When the abuse allegations against Greene first became public in July, Tri-C also declined our interview request, but shared more details about what led to Greene's resignation:

"In January 2020, a former Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®) Dance Academy student contacted Garfield Heights Police Department regarding Dance Academy Program Manager Terence Greene. The complaint alleged that Greene engaged in inappropriate conduct with the student in October 2019 while off campus following a dance program related activity. Even though the student subsequently declined to proceed with the case, Tri-C took steps to remove Greene from his position based on his presence with the student after hours, agreeing to accept his resignation since there was no longer a cooperating complainant. Tri-C’s Deputy General Counsel sent the police report to the County Prosecutor’s Office with a recommendation that they proceed with prosecution.

"A criminal background check conducted before Greene was hired did not report any open cases or convictions.

"Tri-C is committed to the safety and well-being of its students and staff and to maintaining a learning and working environment that is free from sexual misconduct, where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. The College has clearly defined and well communicated policies that prohibit all forms of sexual misconduct and harassment as well as guidelines for reporting it. The College strongly supports and encourages students and employees who believe they have experienced sexual misconduct or are aware of sexual misconduct to report it, seek assistance and pursue action for their protection and that of the entire campus community."

Very similar stories

Fisher filed a similar lawsuit against Greene in late July on behalf of seven former Cleveland School of the Arts students. 5 On Your Side Investigators broke the story on social media.

RELATED: Cleveland dance teacher accused of sexual abuse by several former students

The initial lawsuit, filed in federal court, also alleges Greene sexually abused and assaulted his dance students.

The lawsuit also alleges the Cleveland Metropolitan School District ignored serious concerns regarding Greene’s behavior with male students, including his 2004 acquittal on criminal charges.

“They turned a blind eye,” said Fisher.

“All of these students tell a very similar story,” said Fisher. “His (Greene’s) conduct has been consistent, it has been premeditated and it has been vicious.”

Records show Greene worked as a dance teacher at CSA between 1998 and 2014.

Criminal charges

The lawsuits are the least of Greene's legal troubles.

The 74 count indictment against him includes charges of rape and kidnapping related to allegations of sexual assault made by several former students.

The criminal investigation was opened when a former CSA student told Cleveland Police Greene sexually abused him in 2008 when Greene was his dance teacher at the Cleveland School of the Arts.

A warrant was issued for Greene’s arrest in July after Cleveland Police charged him with one count of sexual battery.

U.S. Marshals then arrested Greene at a friend’s apartment in Brighton, New York, a small town near Rochester, August 3.

Greene was released on bond August 19.

News 5 has reached out Greene's attorney and attempted to contact him several times. We have not received a response.

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