Rock Pianist Guilty of Molesting Girls

A 60-year-old pianist who once toured with such rock bands as The Turtles and Iron Butterfly was sentenced Friday in Santa Ana to nine years in prison for molesting three young girls while giving them lessons.

Daniel Peter Gaudin, formerly of Orange, will have to register as a sex offender after he is released from prison, said Farrah Emami of the Orange County District Attorney's Office.

Gaudin gave piano lessons in a private room at The Music Store in La Mirada and at the homes of his students.

Between Oct. 1, 2004, and April 18, 2006, he taught piano at the home of 7-year-old and her 10-year-old sister, and fondled the younger girl during weekly lessons, Emami said.

Gaudin scheduled the lessons for when the girls' parents were away, with only a nanny present, and touched the younger child's crotch over her clothes during each lesson. He also tickled her and whispered in her ear that he loved her, Emami said.

He was charged in connection with that case in April 2006 and released on $100,000 bail. He made all his court appearances until failing to show up at a hearing on Dec. 1, 2006, and a warrant setting bail at $1 million was issued, Emami said.

It was subsequently learned that he had fled to Germany on Nov. 9, 2006, to avoid prosecution, she said.

Before he left, prosecutors were preparing to charge him in connection with the other two girls, Emami said.

Between April 1, 2005, and April 30, 2006, Gaudin touched the upper thighs and chest of an 8-year-old girl, whispered that he loved her and made sexual comments during piano lessons, Emami said.

He molested a 9-year-old girl in the same way between Jan. 1, 2004, and April 30, 2006, she said.

Gaudin was arrested on the fugitive warrant on May 17, 2007, while trying to enter Canada on a flight from London. He was returned to Orange County on July 11, 2007.

Gaudin would have faced up to 56 years in prison had he been convicted of all charges, but he pleaded guilty Feb. 11 to three counts of continuous sexual abuse and one count of lewd acts on a child under 14.

Under the plea agreement, Orange County Superior Court Judge John Conley sentenced him to the nine-year term, Emani said.

According to his Web site, Gaudin was born in Hawaii and moved with his family to Vancouver, British Columbia, when he was 2 years old.

He started playing piano at the age of 4, and in the 1960s and '70s made albums with Sweeney Todd and Bryan Adams and toured with the bands Heart, The Turtles and Iron Butterfly, among others.

In 1978, he started a band called Red Cent that performed at The Whiskey, Troubadour and other Los Angeles-area clubs.

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