ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A ballet academy founder accused of sexual misconduct will not be charged, the Anchorage District Attorney’s Office said Thursday.
The 50-year-old founder of the Anchorage Classical Ballet Academy, Michelangelo Canale, has been accused by at least two ex-students of systematic sexual misconduct in an environment that permitted his behavior, KTVA-TV reported .
The state “will be unable to prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt,” Assistant District Attorney Andrew Grannik said.
Two ex-students went public with the TV station, one of which said that since sharing her experience on Dec. 14, others have approached her with their own stories about Canale.
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“This is someone you pay to correct your body,” the ex-student told the TV station in December. “You’re used to them touching you.”
The ex-student said she was intoxicated and accepted a ride home from Canale and another female dancer when he assaulted her. She said Canale started performing oral sex on her in the vehicle without consent and only stopped after two requests to do so.
The former student said she has since resigned from the academy. Another ex-student that went public with the TV station said she took her concerns about Canale to the Anchorage Classical Ballet Academy Board of Directors months ago, but she said nothing was done.
That ex-student said Canale partially exposed himself to her, made sexual comments to her when she was 17 years old and touched other minors in sexually inappropriate ways.
The board in December placed Canale on administrative leave when Anchorage police announced an investigation. The board said it is conducting an independent investigation as well.
The Associated Press does not identify alleged victims of sexual assault.
Grannik said the decision not to prosecute Canale in no way implies that his “conduct is not of concern,” but he said prosecutors can’t prove three required elements for first-degree sexual assault.
The TV station reported that Canale hung up the phone on Thursday when questioned by a reporter.
The academy’s board President Ed Barrington said the school has lost 25 to 30 percent of its enrollment since the allegations were made public.
Barrington said Friday that he would not be making a statement without consideration of the Board of Directors. A formal statement will be made later, he said.