San Mateo County

Former Burlingame Band Teacher Pleads Not Guilty to Sexually Assaulting Student

A 58-year-old former band teacher pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges related to the sexual assault of a Mills High School student in 2008 and 2009, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

Redwood City resident Ken Crowell pleaded not guilty in San Mateo County Superior Court to multiple counts of unlawful sexual penetration and oral copulation with a minor.

On May 28, 2015, the victim went to Burlingame police to report that she had a sexual relationship with Crowell, her high school band teacher. The relationship started while she was 16 years old and took place from July 2008 to February 2009, prosecutors said.

Crowell allegedly warned the victim to never tell anyone about the relationship. She eventually sought therapy and talked to a friend and was convinced to report the crimes to police, prosecutors said.

Investigators recorded a conversation between the victim and Crowell in which he made admissions related to the case, prosecutors said.

Crowell, who resigned from the Millbrae school in 2008, was arrested on May 18. He has since posted $250,000 bail and is out of custody. He will return to court for a status conference on Sept. 8 and a preliminary hearing on Sept. 20, Wagstaffe said.

Following the arrest of Crowell last month, San Mateo Union High School District Superintendent Kevin Skelly released a statement expressing concern over the allegations.

"We have and will continue to do everything within our power to protect our young people from harm," Skelly said. "Please know that this allegation against a former teacher is highly unusual."

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