Jan 3, 2023
A former dance instructor at a Temecula, California, studio pleaded guilty to lewd acts with students last month. Eric Eustacio Saradpon, 43, entered guilty pleas on three counts involving minor victims associated with his work as a dance teacher from 2007 to 2019 at Temecula Dance Company, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office confirmed in a Wednesday news release.
Saradpon is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday, according to a local KTLA report.
According to the criminal complaint, the former dance instructor pleaded guilty to the following charges:
Five survivors – all minors – were reportedly named in the complaint, according to the Riverside District Attorney’s Office.
“As one of the dance teachers, Saradpon was entrusted with the health, safety, and emotional well-being of the minors at the studio and when in dance competitions across the country,” the DA’s Office said. “Instead, he engaged in a pattern of grooming, seducing, and molesting his victims.”
On October 12, 2020, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department served a search warrant at Saradpon’s residence – on the 39000 block of Sundance Circle – in connection to a “lewd acts with minors investigation,” according to KTLA.
The sheriff’s department confirmed that they seized several “evidence items” at the location.
Furthermore, the sheriff’s department confirmed that in November 2020, Saradpon was arrested while at the dance studio – located at 28404 Felix Valdez Avenue – on suspicion of felony crimes.
Said crimes reportedly included:
At the time of the arrest, Ed Morel, who owns Temecula Dance Company with his wife, reportedly told KTLA that Saradpon worked at the studio for approximately 15 years and had passed a background check.
“My wife and I have owned this business for 30 years. We’ve had thousands of kids come through here,” Morel said to KTLA. “Anybody who puts any of our kids in danger is not welcome here.”
Morel reportedly “cut ties” with Saradpon immediately after detectives informed him about the allegations.
Following the 2020 arrest of Saradpon, KTLA reported that a 13-year-old former student confirmed that the dance instructor would have students spend the night at his home.
“The fact that he has boys sleepover at his house, which are like 13 years old … It was just weird to me,” the student, identified only as Brendan, said to KTLA.
Brendan’s mother reportedly removed him from the dance school after the allegations were made public.
“You see the behaviors of him with the students and you know it’s not normal. But nobody questions it,” his mom said to KTLA at the time.
Sexual abuse civil lawsuits may be filed in an effort to recover financial compensation for various types of losses endured by survivors. Certain compensatory damages may be pursued through a civil claim, such as:
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For adult sexual assault survivors, the California statute of limitations on sex crimes allows you to file a civil claim up to 10 years after an incident. Additionally, the statute of limitations allows for a three-year window in civil claims where sexual assaults lead to the discovery of a psychological injury, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
For survivors of childhood sexual abuse, the statute of limitations has been extended under recent legislation.
Assembly Bill 218 (AB 218), which took effect on January 1, 2020, tolls (pauses) the statute of limitations on all childhood sex crimes through the end of 2022. In other words, all California survivors of childhood sexual abuse or assault may currently file civil claims seeking financial compensation until December 31, 2022. However, as of January 1, 2023, the standard statute of limitations will resume, and survivors who did not file claims will likely be left without any legal recourse.
California AB 218 includes a treble damages clause which gives the courts latitude to triple financial damages awards in cases where a cover-up is proven. For example, if you are a sexual abuse survivor who was victimized through a systemic cover-up (at either an individual or institutional level), and that malfeasance was able to be proven in court, a $10 million damages award could theoretically be increased to $30 million under the AB 218 treble damages clause.
For additional information on California AB 218 and how it offers survivors of childhood sexual abuse an unprecedented opportunity at justice, please visit our recent blog post.
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