Former Edmonton piano teacher found guilty of sexually assaulting students

Daniel Shee Yin Chong, 65, was convicted of multiple sexual assault offences on Tuesday. (Edmonton Police Service - image credit)
Daniel Shee Yin Chong, 65, was convicted of multiple sexual assault offences on Tuesday. (Edmonton Police Service - image credit)

A Court of King's Bench justice has found a former Edmonton piano teacher guilty of sexually assaulting two students.

Daniel Chong, 65, was convicted Tuesday on two counts of sexual assault and two counts of sexual interference.

The names of the victims are protected under a publication ban. One boy, identified in court as M.J., was 13 was the offences occurred over three years, beginning in 1999.

"I believe M.J.'s evidence that the accused groomed M.J. over a period of time and that the accused physical contact with M.J. gradually became more sexual as time progressed," Justice Shaina Leonard told the Edmonton courtroom.

Leonard also found Chong guilty of sexual offences committed against a student identified as A.R., who was 18 in 2009 when the offences occurred. Leonard did not convict Chong on three similar charges involving two other students.

During the trial that began just over a year ago, Chong acknowledged touching students. He said it was part of his teaching method and never sexual. He said he always obtained consent from students and parents.

In her decision, Leonard noted Chong described himself as a six-generation Franz Liszt scholar with a showy style of playing.

"In the Franz Liszt school of teaching, touching student's arms while they play is discouraged because it distracts the student and destroys their movement," Leonard said, laying out part of Chong's argument. "The accused would only touch a student on the legs or knees by tapping."

Chong testified that he had taught piano and music theory to more than 2,000 students, Leonard said.

Brian Beresh, Chong's lawyer, argued M.J. was not to be believed for multiple reasons. He said it was telling that M.J.'s father did not believe him

But Leonard found that M.J.'s father "was not a supportive person in his life."

The judge said that Chong fabricated evidence and she did not believe his denials.

It's not the first time Chong has faced such allegations by a student. In 2012 he was charged for alleged incidents between 2004 and 2007 but ultimately acquitted.

Chong is out on bail but the court granted Crown prosecutor Huyser-Wierenga's request that Chong surrender his passport.

A sentencing date for today's convictions has not yet been set.