Violin teacher who groped breasts gets off with 8 months

Violin teacher who groped breasts gets off with 8 months


norman lebrecht

March 04, 2020

Backlash is starting to grow for the lenient sentence on a Canadian music teacher who made early-pubescent girls practice topless and groped their breasts.

Claude Eric Trachy, of Chatham, Ontario, was convicted of assaulting 20 female pupils from 1971 for about two decades.

This week Trachy, 75, was sentenced to eight months in jail.

Report here.



  • Allen says:

    Maybe you should re-word the title of this article and not say “TEACHER WHO GROPED BREASTS GETS OFF”.
    Just saying.

  • Calvin says:

    Justice George acknowledged that the eight-month sentence “may come across as trivializing the suffering and pain and embarrassment you the victims will have surely felt.” There is excellent cause, indeed, for such a conclusion. There’s not too many latitudinarians around when it comes to serial child molesters. This judge may be in a club of one. How do judges get defrocked in Canada?

    • christopher storey says:

      Perhaps if you had to sentence people you might find that the task is very much more complex than you might imagine, and this is particularly the case with historic sex abuse cases where a . the offender is now rather old and b. the offences were committed between 30 and 49 years ago . I think an apology to the Judge is called for

      • Calvin says:

        Trachy stopped, if you take the child molester’s own word for it, only after he was criminally charged for the first time — the date that corresponds to your 30-year benchmark. And the court’s statement that because of Trachy’s age, 75, his risk of re-offending “is nil” is a further reflection of obtuseness. Really, there have been no child molesters that old? But have it your way: Judge, I am truly sorry that you have your head so far up your ass.

        • Steven Holloway says:

          You should be sorry for the judge, who is obliged to follow the directions of a volume of considerable length on sentencing rules for judges. The complexity is vastly greater than you obviously think, and these are rules, not suggestions. By all means find someone to blame, but it is the fault of the judge only in cases where sentencing is perverse and contrarian, and of course there are such judges. But the full and overarching responsibility lies elsewhere.

        • Sue Sonata Form says:

          Bravo. It’s the Left which has infiltrated these institutions like the court, portraying every criminal as a victim who had ‘issues’. Well, this is the pointy end of that lunacy.

          And, whilst on the subject, some countries say they are committed to defending women and children from domestic violence. Yeah right; when serious sexual predators and violent offenders get such lenient sentences. A ‘king hit’ in Australia resulting in death and after a night on the booze will probably earn you 2 years in the slammer. And that’s on the serious side of the sentencing regime!!!!

          You just couldn’t make up this stuff and its attendant hideous hypocrisy.

      • Sage says:

        Obviously you weren’t a victim !!! Or someone you know asshole

    • The View from America says:

      “You victims …”

      That’s certainly telling.

  • Karl says:

    Is this guy going to be Canada’s Willie Horton? White Willie – that’s a good nickname.

    • V.Lind says:

      He is neither a murderer nor a rapist, so I think that comparison is invidious.

      That said, I think we are looking at yet another series of judges who simply do not — or will not — “get” sexual crimes. I don’t care much that he is likely to re-offend. I understand he is 75, but a few years inside would have been more appropriate.

  • Brettermeier says:

    “Canadian music teacher [..] made early-pubescent girls practice topless and groped their breasts.”

    Wait, WHAT?!?

    (And this is why I hate people.)

  • mary says:

    The proper punishment seems to me ought to be slamming the piano lid down hard on his fingers.

    Or on another appendage.

  • Bruce says:

    Agreed it’s not enough, but it’s better than the acquittal he got before. From the article:

    “Another student had filed a sexual-assault complaint against Mr. Trachy that year [2015], giving police the names of other girls who’d taken lessons with him. After an investigation, Chatham-Kent police laid 44 charges involving 21 victims, said Sergeant Shawn Mungar, investigative lead on the case.

    “At trial, Superior Court Justice Thomas Carey acquitted Mr. Trachy on all charges, siding with the teacher’s account that he was not motivated by a “sexual purpose.”

    “Three Ontario Court of Appeal judges overturned 28 of those 44 acquittals last July. In the case of one victim, the judges set aside the acquittals on sexual assault and indecent assault and entered a stay, writing that the woman was an adult at the time ‘and there is an issue with respect to consent.’ The trial judge erred in the law, they ruled, when he hinged the case on Mr. Trachy’s motivations but overlooked the sexual nature of his behaviour and ‘the position of trust between the child-students and their teacher.’ “

  • Mark says:

    It would be a very sad world indeed if the courts imposed sentences based on the feelings of the public and not on the letter of the law.
    Here are just a few questions (I am not licensed to practice law in Canada, but I assume there is considerable similarity between the US and the Canadian criminal justice systems):

    1. How many of the alleged incidents were proven beyond a reasonable doubt ? Was the accused convicted of all counts of the indictment (the linked article is paywalled)?

    2. What is the minimum sentence imposed by the pertinent statute ?

    3. Are there any sentencing guidelines (for example, are the accused’s age, lack of criminal history etc. regarded as mitigating circumstances and what is the extent of the judge’s discretion)?

    If one considers all of the above, only then the sentence can be evaluated.

    • Bruce says:

      What worked for me (to get past the paywall) was:
      • copy the URL
      • open a private (or incognito, or whatever your browser calls it) window
      • paste the URL

      I’m not a lawyer, but as I recall from a Title IX sexual harasment/ assault training session for one of my jobs (yeah, I know — that pretty much makes me a lawyer), the standard is “preponderance of evidence,” not “beyond reasonable doubt, meaning that the investigation must find that the conduct is “more likely than not” (>50%) to have happened. It’s a lower standard, in recognition of the fact that such things tend to happen without witnesses, can be ambiguous, don’t necessarily leave evidence, etc.

      Considering that these girls were alone with him in a windowless basement room, the incidents left no physical evidence (such as bruises, “DNA,” etc.), and they sometimes weren’t even sure they’d been abused until years later, the “reasonable doubt” standard would make it nigh impossible to ever prosecute a case.

      Anyway, in spite of my extensive legal background (ahem), I have no idea what the law is in Canada.

    • Karl says:

      It’s already that way. It’s the reason for mass incarceration in the US. Judges never get into trouble or get bad publicity for sentences that are too harsh, but they get a lot of grief if they are perceived as being too lenient. A CA judge got recalled a couple of years ago and all he did was pass a sentence that was suggested by the probation department. And then more mandatory minimum sentences got passed by lawmakers.

  • Gerald Martin says:

    Is it OK to ask where were the parents?