September 22, 2007

Music teacher Achi Ben Shalom gets 90 days in incident with girl

Henry K. Lee, San Francisco Chronicle

September 22, 2007

EL CERRITO - A former music teacher at a small Jewish school in El Cerrito was sentenced Friday to 90 days in Contra Costa County Jail for an incident in which a female student had accused him of sexual molestation. Achi Ben Shalom, 53, of El Cerrito also was placed on three years' probation by Superior Court Judge Leslie Landau in Martinez. Ben Shalom was acquitted by a jury last month of lewd and lascivious conduct with a girl but convicted of the lesser charges of assault and battery. On Friday, the judge dismissed the assault conviction on the grounds that Ben Shalom could not be convicted of two crimes for the same incident, defense attorney Harold Rosenthal said.

The girl testified that she had been molested last fall when she was 10 and turned 11. The Israeli-born musician testified that he had only massaged her stomach with a technique that he used on his children to ease aches, defense attorney Rosenthal has said. El Cerrito police arrested Ben Shalom in November for allegedly molesting the girl in his office after school hours. The criminal case stemmed "from a series of events" at Tehiyah Day School, police said at the time.

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