Temecula

Former Temecula Dance Instructor Sentenced to More Than Three Years in Sexual Abuse Cases

Victims say the man groomed them for years at the dance studio, and then invited them to private overnight parties at his Temecula home.

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A Riverside County judge on Thursday sentenced a former Temecula dance instructor to more than three years prison for sexually abusing young boys.

Erik Saradpon, a well known choreographer in hip hop dance, was sentenced.

"Today is a day of victory, honestly," said Donovan Okimura, a victim. "A huge weight is off my chest

Okimura was a teenager when he says Saradpon was his instructor.

He and other victims say the 43-year-old man would manipulate teen boys by favoring ones who performed sexual acts at Saradpon's Temecula home.

"You're given your dreams, your aspirations, Okimura said. "You're given those things and told by the same person that promised you those things that it won't happen, unless you do this to me."

Victims say Saradpon groomed them for years at the dance studio, and then invited them to private overnight parties at his Temecula home.

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"He hosted these parties for his sexual pleasure," said a victim. "They were not for team building. They were for sexual pleasure."

One victim named Anthony said he was abused 15 years ago, but kept quiet until recently.

"We wanted to have a career," he said. "We wanted to have a future and he held that high. He held that in front of us, saying if you want this, this is how it is in the entertainment business."

In 2019 a group of victims got together and decided to report the abuse, and that ultimately led to Saradpon's arrest.

Saradpon didn't apologize during his sentencing.

But he agreed to a plea deal which gives him three years and four months in prison, two years less than the maximum.

So far seven victims have come forward, but fellow students believe there are many more.

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