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Long Island City music teacher gets 12 years in prison for sex trafficking of minors

Photo via Google Maps/Inset Photo via Long Island City Academy of Music

A music teacher who founded the Long Island City Academy of Music was sentenced to 12 years in prison after an investigation found that he solicited minors for sex.

Oliver Sohngen, 53, was arrested in May after he was caught trying to pay for sex from an undercover investigator posing as a 15-year-old girl online. Sohngen frequently exchanged texts with a Bronx man operating a sex trafficking ring to attempt to “engage in commercial sex acts” with girls from the ages of 8 to 17.

This operation was run from a man’s home in the Bronx on Davidson Avenue and Sohngen communicated with the man from March through November 2013, according to the criminal complaint. Sohngen would negotiate prices through text messages and meet with the girls at a hotel or the man’s home.

In November 2015, an undercover agent working with Homeland Security responded to a Craigslist ad posted by Sohngen, who also went by the names of Stephan Weierbach and Helmuth Moss online. The officer exchanged texts with Sohngen until January 2016 and pretended to be a 15-year-old girl.

According to Joon H. Kim, the acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Sohngen proposed to meet with the girl to engage in sex acts.

“Oliver Sohngen, a teacher at a music school for children, was a sexual predator,” Kim said in a statement.  “He paid to have sex with minor girls at least twice, and attempted to engage in sex trafficking of girls under the age of 14. His significant sentence will ensure that he is no longer a threat to our community, in particular, our children. We remain committed to prosecuting all those who, like Sohngen, prey on our most innocent and vulnerable victims.”

Sohngen was also sentenced to 10 years of supervised release after he completes his 12-year sentence.

He opened the Long Island City Academy of Music in 2010 where he and other music professionals taught a range of music classes. The school has since shut down.

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