Dance teacher featured on ‘Dance Moms’ accused of sexual abuse


ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A dance instructor who appeared on Lifetime’s “Dance Moms” is accused of sexually abusing girls at an Orlando dance studio.

The Orlando Sentinel reported.

He was also fired from his job at Peaches Dance and Music Orlando, the newspaper reported.

The charges follow an investigation by Winter Garden Police, Orange County Sheriff’s Deputies and the Department of Children and Families, which revealed charges of manipulation and sexual assault by two teenage girls who took lessons with Cosculluela.

A student told investigators she idolized Cosculluela and considered him famous and important because of his appearances on the reality show about dancing kids, their moms and their studio.

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The investigation revealed that Cosculluela often took the students to lunch, watched movies with them and celebrated their birthdays, according to a police report. He also reached out to students on social media, the report added.

The report states that Cosculluela asked some of the girls for nude photos and twerking videos. A girl told investigators that he could sometimes be scary if you didn’t do what he asked. She explained that he yelled, cursed and ignored her for days, and threatened to stop his lessons with her.

He would also send messages saying he loved her, the girl told investigators.

According to the arrest report, Cosculluela brought a girl to his home in early December and forced her to perform a sex act on him. He then took her back to the studio and told her to “wipe this from your memory and not tell anyone,” the report said.

The teenager confided in another dancer at the studio, who said she had had similar encounters with the instructor, according to the report. The second teenager told investigators she had been to Cosculluela’s apartment about 10 times, adding that she trusted him and he took advantage of it, according to the report.

“They put him on a pedestal, so they were willing to take whatever he did so they could keep him in their lives,” Detective Bethany Rising wrote in Cosculluela’s arrest warrant.

Investigators spoke to a dance studio employee who is also a friend of Cosculluela. He told them he saw no inappropriate behavior between the instructor and his students, according to the report. He thought Cosculluela was a “very caring teacher”, the report said.

Court records showed the studio informed the parents in late December that Cosculluela had been fired for inappropriate behavior, the Sentinel reported.

Cosculluela’s next hearing is scheduled for May 5. His lawyer declined to comment to the newspaper on Wednesday.

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