Dance teacher faces more assault charges
A former Aiea dance teacher who denies having any sexual contact with two female students is now facing a second trial.
Daniel Jones went on trial yesterday in Circuit Judge Virginia Crandall's courtroom, charged with two counts of first-degree assault and four counts of third-degree assault involving a 14-year-old and a 12-year-old girl.
Jones, 22, was acquitted last year of 12 other sexual assault charges involving three other minor girls, also students at the Rosalie Woodson Dance Academy on Moanalua Road. They also accused Jones of touching them improperly.
Defense attorney Myron Takemoto said the evidence will show that this is a case about revenge by a suicidal teenager and retaliation by another student who obsessed and pursued him despite his continued rejection.
He said there will be no medical evidence or any evidence to corroborate the allegations of sexual assault. "They're words, just words," Takemoto said.
The reason why Jones is in court is because a police detective failed to thoroughly investigate and check out the motives of his accusers, Takemoto said.
Deputy Prosecutor Thalia Murphy said Jones betrayed the trust of the girls who had known him for most of their lives and regarded him as an older brother.
His alleged conduct -- starting with attempts to hypnotize them to massaging, touching their genitals to oral sex -- began in September 2004 and continued to March 2005 and occurred at their homes, at the dance studio or at a raku camp at Camp Kualoa where one of the girls and Jones shared a tent, Murphy said.
The girls' reactions ranged from fear and confusion to willing participation by the second girl who was interested in him, Murphy said.
The girls did not tell anyone about the incidents until much later, and even when one of them told their mother, the parent did not do anything about it immediately. When the allegations surfaced, a meeting was held with Jones, the parent and studio staff, including the studio's founder, Rosalie Woodson.
Woodson allegedly asked Jones at the meeting if he did what he was being accused of. His reply, according to Murphy, was, "I don't remember."
Takemoto said Jones never said that, nor did he confess to the father of the 14-year-old that he had assaulted her. Jones maintains that statements he made to the girl's father were made only to placate him and that he never admitted to sexual contact.
Takemoto said Jones' life revolved around the dance studio from an early age. His mother worked at the studio as did his three sisters, and he was a student there until he began teaching.
If convicted of first-degree assault, Jones faces a 20-year prison term. The trial is expected to last two weeks.