Long Island City music school founder pleads guilty to sex trafficking charges

Long Island City Academy of Music director Oliver Sohngen faces life in prison after pleading guilty to sex trafficking charges.
Courtesy of nycservice.org
By Bill Parry

The founder of a Long Island City music school is facing life in prison after pleading guilty to sex trafficking charges.

Oliver Sohngen, 53, the founder of the Long Island City Academy of Music, was arrested last May and charged with conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors, sex trafficking of minors, attempted sex trafficking of minors, and attempted inducement of minors to engage in sexual activity.

Sohngen was arrested after he was caught trying to pay for sex from an undercover investigator with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security posing as a 15-year-old girl online. Between March and November of 2013, the German-born Sohngen used the aliases “Helmuth Moss” and “Stephan Weierbach” while exchanging text messages with a Bronx man in order to arrange for sex with underage girls ranging in age from 8 to 17 years old, according to a criminal complaint.

On at least two occasions, Sohngen engaged in sexual contact with underage girls at the co-conspirators apartment in the Bronx, according to the criminal complaint.

Sohngen pleaded guilty to the charges last Thursday before Judge Ronald Ellis in Manhattan federal court. His attorney did not respond to requests for comment.

Sohngen is scheduled back in court Nov. 27 and faces a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum term of life in prison.

“The trafficking of minors for the purpose of sex is a deeply disturbing and reprehensible crime,” Police Commissioner James O’Neill said following Sohngen’s arrest in May. “We remain resolute in working along with our law enforcement partners to identify, apprehend, and prosecute those individuals who prey upon our most innocent victims.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

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