On March 9, 2006, The Jury of the Superior Court of California in Redwood City convicted my father Boping Chen of 63 counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor, allegedly having molested a 10 year old girl from September 2001 to June 2004 during piano lessons. He was sentenced to 14 year in prison on June 2nd, 2006.
My father is a piano teacher who has been teaching for over 20 years, five of which was since our family moved to the United States. Allegedly, during the two years and 10 months of his teaching, he had molested this girl over 63 times during his 126 lessons over the years. However, the piano lessons are held in a living room with 2 open entrances, in which the live-in nanny and the girl’s younger sister would often cross. The nanny, who has been with the family for five years, testifies that she did not see any unusual behavior in any of the lessons. Furthermore, my father has taught over 30 other students; both students and parents of these students vouch that my father is an excellent teacher. None believe that their teacher is capable of committing such a crime.
Other testimonies place the truthfulness of the girl’s story in question. The nanny would often be unjustly accused as having stole stuff from the mother, of which all accusations were proven false. Another teacher who taught the girl Chinese testifies that the girl would scream at the teacher, throwing tantrums after refusing to correct sentences in her composition. Instead, she would furiously cross out the sentences in the notebook and toss it to the floor. Although the mother claims that her daughter was "… shy, introverted, and inarticulate...," leading to a susceptibility to molestation, these other testimonies seem to indicate that the girl is fully capable of expressing her disapproval of situations she dislikes and even lies to try to get her way.
Another factor is the fact that the girl’s piano skills benefited greatly from the lessons. In the 34 month period, the girl went from a beginner level course to a level 5 course, completing 12 music books and progressing in 3 others. If her teacher had been “continuously” molesting her for “almost every lesson” from October 2001 to June 2004 as the girl claims, how exactly would a young girl be able to process approximately 5 years worth of material without a teacher who actually teaches her? From all accounts the girl is bright, but by no means a prodigy that would be capable of such a feat. Even the girl’s account of “almost every lesson” is considered incredulous by the prosecution, who lowered the charges to half of every lesson taken, 63 out of 126.
The Juror’s reasons for convicting my father are also quite absurd. “The girl testified naturally and smoothly and believable; but the defendant was defensive… therefore, we believed he was guilty.” Because the defendant was defensive and the girl talked smoothly, the Juror’s decided that my father was guilty?
This conviction was based solely on the Juror’s emotions which were turned by the story of the “victim,” rather than by the testimonies of the trial; that my father is a good teacher with lots of people vouching for his credibility and it would be unfair to convict him based solely on the testimony of a little girl rather than by hard evidence.
The conviction was unjust and one sided, with the verdict coming from the emotion of the girl rather than the evidence pointing otherwise.
We, the undersigned, ask the court and state to further investigate this case and reconsider the validity of the testimonies given in order to come to a more just decision based upon the facts of the matter rather than clouded decisions based on the emotions played by the prosecution.
The Appeal for a fair and just trial for Boping Chen petition to Residents of California was written by Angie Chen and is in the category Civil Rights at GoPetition.