A former Henrico dance instructor pleads guilty to having sex with his underage dancers and child porn charges.
Thirty-four-year old Andrew DeFiesta faced 18 charges of indecent liberties with children and child pornography. He once taught at Regency Dance Academy. He plead guilty to 16 charges and made an Alford plea for two other charges which means he doesn't admit guilt but acknowledges there is enough evidence to convict him.
Defiesta's victims were 15, 16 and 17 years old. People softly cried as DeFiesta repeated the word "guilty" 18 times.
Prosecutors then released shocking details about the crimes. They say the first victim started having sex with DeFiesta in 2004 when she was 16-years-old. At the time, he was an instructor at the Latin Ballet Dance Academy. But she didn't tell police until she was an adult.
By that time DeFiesta was at the Regency Dance Academy in Henrico. Prosecutors say four more victims soon came forward; the youngest was 15-years-old. They say he had sex with the girls in his car and at the studio when he was supposed to be giving them private dance lessons. Prosecutors say one victim refused his advances and hid in a room after he grabbed her.
There were also new details about the child porn charges-prosecutors say there were photos on DeFiesta's phone and computer of children performing sex acts.
The victims, their family members and several former Regency Dance Academy instructors were in that courtroom.
"I know peoples say oh don't throw that hate word around. I think that's what I feel towards him because he hurt these little girls that we care so much about," said Michelle Marx. She once worked at the studio.
She says she walked in on DeFiesta having sex with one of the victims and reported it to the studio owners. But prosecutors say DeFiesta continued to manipulate the situation telling people he was having sex with his wife, not the victim.
Several people cried in the courtroom when they heard the details. Now Marx hopes the victims will find strength and closure.
"My main concern is that he is not able to touch, talk to another child. I'm hoping this ends the cycle," she said.
DeFiesta is scheduled to be sentenced in December. The judge approved a psychiatric and sexual evaluation for DeFiesta before sentencing. Along with being a dance instructor, DeFiesta was also in the Army and served two tours in Iraq.
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