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Trial underway for former Crystal Lake music instructor charged with sexual assault

Kenneth Y. Kang
Kenneth Y. Kang

Testimony is expected to begin Tuesday in the trial of a 70-year-old former Crystal Lake music instructor accused of sexually assaulting five alleged victims.

Palatine man, Kenneth Y. Kang, is charged with 10 counts each of attempted criminal sexual assault and criminal sexual assault. The charges all stem from misconduct that is alleged to have taken place between September and December 2015.

If convicted of criminal sexual assault by a person of power, Kang could be sentenced to as many as 15 years in prison.

In addition to teaching cello lessons at the McHenry County Youth Orchestra and Academy, Kang previously worked as an adjunct faculty member at McHenry County College until the time of his arrest on separate charges in 2018.

At the time, he was accused of having sexual contact with a girl from October 2016 to August 2018 while she was between 14 and 17 years old, according to a redacted criminal complaint. Several additional alleged victims were identified following the original 2018 investigation. Charges pertaining to those allegations were filed in a separate 2019 case in McHenry County.

The academy learned about the allegations when Kang was charged by the Crystal Lake Police Department and took action to make sure he no longer provided instruction to any McHenry County Youth Orchestra and Academy students, the academy's attorney said following Kang's 2019 arrest.

Kang was assisted Monday by two language interpreters who spoke to Kang through a headset during jury selection.

Although prosecutors were prepared to call their first witness Monday, McHenry County Judge Robert Wilbrandt released the jury and both parties at 2:30 p.m. "out of an abundance of caution" regarding a severe thunderstorm warning for McHenry County.

The trial will resume 9 a.m. Tuesday with opening statements from Kang's defense attorneys and the McHenry County State's Attorney's Office. Witnesses that could be called Tuesday include two Crystal Lake police officers and one of the alleged victims.

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