Yat-Sen Chang: Ballet dancer found guilty of sex assaults

image copyrightMet Police
image captionYat-Sen Chang abused his position of trust and power, police say

A former English National Ballet principal dancer has been found guilty of sexually assaulting his students.

Yat-Sen Chang attacked girls and women at the English National Ballet and Young Dancers Academy in London between December 2009 and March 2016.

The 49-year-old was convicted of 12 counts of sexual assault and one count of assault by penetration. He was cleared of one offence.

He will be sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court on 18 June.

Judge Edward Connell told Chang his offending had "escalated in seriousness" and warned him he faced a "lengthy custodial sentence".

'Dangerous and predatory'

The offences related to four females, aged between 16 and 18 at the time, who accused the dancer of touching them inappropriately during massages at the schools.

The jury was told Chang, who now lives in the German city of Kiel, had "used his position" as a "famous and revered" ballet dancer to abuse his students.

"For his part, he trusted that his fame and his position would protect him from complaint, or from consequences of his actions," prosecutor Joel Smith said.

Chang had denied all the allegations, saying he had "no idea" why they had been made.

image copyrightPA Media
image captionThe ballet dancer said he had "no idea" why allegations had been made about him

According to a profile on the Theatre Kiel website, Chang joined the English National Ballet in 1993 and was a principal dancer until 2011. He performed in productions including The Nutcracker, Coppelia and Sleeping Beauty.

The Met Police said two of his victims contacted the force in 2016 about assaults that had taken place during private ballet tuition lessons at either his home, the dance school or the ballet school.

The other two complainants came forward later with further allegations.

Speaking after the court hearing, Det Con Helen Larson described the ballet dancer as "a dangerous and predatory individual".

"He abused his position of trust and power to prey on them when they were most vulnerable," she added.

Chang was remanded in custody ahead of sentencing.

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