Park Slope piano teacher jailed for sexually abusing nine-year-old girl

park slope piano teacher
A Park Slope piano teacher was sentenced to seven years in prison after sexually abusing a young girl.
Photo courtesy of puhimec/Envato Elements

A Park Slope man who sexually abused a nine-year-old girl repeatedly for almost two years after befriending her family was sentenced to seven years in prison on Thursday.

John Stewart Russell, 62, was convicted on Jan. 11 of second-degree course of sexual conduct against a child and endangering the welfare of a child, following a bench trial.

He was sentenced by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice John Hecht to seven years in prison and ten years of post-release supervision.

Announcing the sentencing, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez called Russell’s exploitation of his position of trust with the young girl’s family an “unconscionable betrayal.”

“After starting a friendship with this family, he sexually abused the child beginning when she was just 9 years old,” he said. “I hope today’s sentence brings some closure to the victim and her family and I remain steadfast in my commitment to protecting our children.”

According to the evidence laid out by prosecutors during the trial, Russell started a friendship with the victim’s family in the summer of 2016 and began a pattern of grooming that preceded the sexual abuse to which he subjected the child.

Starting in November 2016, Russell gave the victim piano lessons, and used their alone time to sexually abuse her until June 2018, according to the DA’s office. From the ages of 9 to 11, the girl was regularly subjected to various abuses including groping and various sexual acts.

Russell was arrested on Jul. 30, 2020, after the victim disclosed the abuse to her parents. He was reportedly first charged with sexually abusing a minor in Vermont in 2019, according to the New York Daily News, but was not convicted. In 2018, he was arrested again for allegedly groping a 15-year-old, but the case was dropped when the victim’s family refused to let her testify. 

Upon his release from prison, Russell must register as a sex offender.