A former dance instructor in Cleveland was sentenced to nearly four centuries in prison this week for sex crimes involving children.
For some 21 years, Terence Greene, 57, sexually abused his students at the Cleveland School of the Arts and Cuyahoga Community College – with his vast array of crimes ranging between 1998 and 2019, authorities said.
In late May, after a week-long trial, he was found guilty of 65 crimes total – including 16 counts of rape, 25 counts of sexual battery, 13 counts of kidnapping, eight counts of felonious assault, two counts of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, and one count of gross sexual imposition, according to local ABC affiliate WEWS. He was acquitted on two counts of rape, four counts of sexual battery, and one count each of gross sexual imposition, kidnapping, and disseminating matter harmful to juveniles.
On Thursday afternoon, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Kevin Kelley sentenced Green to 365 years in Buckeye State prison.
Greene abused eight victims over three decades. Their ages at the time of the abuse ranged from 14 to 17.
A ninth victim dropped out of the case after the crimes were reported to police in June 2020. Greene was arrested in August 2021. A 74-count indictment was handed up the next month. The assaults occurred in the dance school dressing room, at school-sponsored events both in- and out-of-state, in Greene’s car, and at his home in Cleveland, prosecutors told jurors during the trial.
In emotional impact statements, several of Greene’s victims addressed their longtime tormentor during the sentencing hearing.
“You were someone that people, not only in Cleveland but all over America, looked up to, appreciated and praised. People trusted you with their children,” one victim said in comments reported by The Plain Dealer. “As of today, you no longer have power, roles, responsibilities. Some of your rights will be taken away. You will not have freedom.”
Greene’s abuse, victims said, took a sad toll.
“I stopped dancing because of him,” one victim said during the sentencing hearing in comments reported by local Fox affiliate WJW. “I didn’t even dance anymore like I wanted to.”
The defendant never offered contrition.
During the trial, he maintained his innocence.
“I’m not one to harm anyone,” Greene said. “Half of them weren’t even my students. To listen to my life in front of me and see all that has been said. … All I can say is, ‘Wow, OK, God, what’s next?’ God knows.”
During the sentencing hearing, the defendant did not deny the underlying actions – referring to himself as a “giver,” WEWS reported.
Two victims testified that they became HIV-positive after being raped by Greene. The defendant knew his status since 2004.
“He is a monster,” Assistant County Prosecutor Steve Szelagiewicz said during the hearing, the paper reported. “He deserves every minute that this court can give him. I know it’s a mandatory life sentence. He shouldn’t get a free pass for any of the assaults he committed. He deserves to spend every minute.”
The court declined to discuss Greene or his crimes directly.
“There’s nothing I can say to you that would be more impactful than what the victims and their families stated to you,” Kelley said, according to the Plain Dealer. “The court has spoken through its sentence.”
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