(skip this header)


Tuesday Jan 07, 2014 6:11 PM PT





sfgate.com Businesses

« Back to Article

El Cerrito music teacher acquitted of molesting student

Henry K. Lee, San Francisco Chronicle
Published 4:00 am, Friday, August 24, 2007
Larger | Smaller
Email This
Page 1 of 1

(08-24) 15:04 PDT EL CERRITO - A music teacher at Tehiyah Day School in El Cerrito has been acquitted of molesting a female student but has been convicted of lesser charges of assault and battery.

Achi Ben Shalom, 53, of El Cerrito was found not guilty Wednesday of committing a lewd and lascivious act on a girl younger than 14, a felony, after a jury trial in Contra Costa County Superior Court in Martinez.

Jurors convicted the Israeli-born musician of misdemeanor assault and battery, indicating they believed there had been inappropriate nonsexual contact, said defense attorney Harold Rosenthal.

The girl testified that she had been molested last fall when she was 10 and turned 11. Ben Shalom testified that he had only massaged her stomach with a technique that he used on his children to ease aches, Rosenthal said.

Superior Court Judge Leslie Landau denied a request by prosecutor Colleen Gleason to have Ben Shalom taken into custody immediately. Ben Shalom is to be sentenced next month.

"I'm relieved," Ben Shalom said Friday. "I hope to pick up the pieces and go on with my life. I am looking for a job. I'm entering the world of event planning and coordinating events. That's my new field."

Ben Shalom said he doesn't plan to ask for his job back at the school. He said he still plays guitar with a band that performs Jewish music at "lifestyle events" such as bar mitzvahs.

El Cerrito police arrested Ben Shalom in November for allegedly molesting the girl in his office after school hours. The criminal case stemmed "from a series of events" at the small Jewish school, police said at the time.

Henry K. Lee