Renowned ballet teacher guilty of sexually assaulting teenage dancers
An internationally renowned ballet dancer has been convicted of sexually assaulting four former teenage students.
Ex-English National Ballet principal dancer Yat-Sen Chang, 49, was convicted of 12 counts of sexual assault and one count of assault by penetration following a trial at Isleworth Crown Court, which concluded today (Tuesday, 11 May).
All four women were aged between 16 and 18 at the time of the abuse from December 2009 to February 2016. Chang began to assault them through inappropriate massages in west London while working as part of the English National Ballet and Young Dancers Academy.
During one incident Chang suggested a victim lie down and began massaging her leg but moved his hands higher up. The victim became concerned and told him to stop.
In another incident with the same victim, Chang led her to the men’s changing room and took off his clothes, before trying to hug her.
At Isleworth Crown Court one victim described how she felt “starstruck” when Chang began teaching her but admitted she was left “freaking out” and “froze like a log” when the abuse began.
A police investigation into Chang’s conduct was initially opened in April 2016 after one victim came forward and reported the abuse.
Nahid Mannan, from the CPS, said: “Yat-Sen Chang used his position as a famed and trusted ballet teacher to groom and sexually assault teenage dancers under his training.
“At 20 years their senior, Chang would have been well aware that his conduct was grossly inappropriate and predatory. Yet he used his power and influence to abuse and sexually intimidate his young victims.
“During the trial Chang claimed that although he had advised students to get massages or do stretches to help with tight calves, he had never offered to personally massage them. In fact, he said he had only touched students to correct their posture during lessons. However, the strong prosecution case which included evidence provided by the victims in pre-recorded video interviews, meant that the jury were able to convict Chang for his crimes.
“I would like to highlight the courage of the young victims in this case without whose testimony this result may not have been possible. Sexual crimes are some of the most serious and complex cases to prosecute - the CPS will always aim to bring these cases to court where there is the evidence to do so.”
Notes to editors
- Yat-Sen Chang (DOB: 16/10/1971) is from Kiel in Germany.
- Nahid Mannan is a Senior Crown Prosecutor within the Rape and Serious Sexual Offences unit in CPS London South.