Crime & Courts

Former Crystal Lake cello instructor nets prison sentence for attempting to sexually assault student

A 70-year-old former Crystal Lake cello teacher was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison for attempting to sexually assault a student in 2019.

Kenneth Y. Kang, of the 2300 block of North Mosely Court, Palatine, was found guilty in August of attempted criminal sexual assault. Jurors at that time also acquitted Kang of multiple felony criminal sexual assault charges tied to the same victim.

At Wednesday’s sentencing hearing, Kang’s attorneys, Adam Sheppard and Daniel Hofmann, submitted supportive letters from Kang’s other students and their parents. Although defense attorneys asked the judge to sentence Kang to probation, McHenry County Judge Robert Wilbrandt ultimately issued the minimum three-year prison sentence.

Kang will receive credit for about three months that he already has served in the McHenry County jail since his arrest, Sheppard said.

A separate case, which prosecutors filed against Kang in 2018, is ongoing and alleges that Kang sexually abused four additional victims.

In the case for which Kang was sentenced Wednesday, the instructor was charged with criminal sexual assault and attempted criminal sexual assault against a fifth victim who came forward in 2019.

The former student, now in her 20s, met with Kang for weekly cello lessons over the course of about nine years, she testified at trial. She was nine years old when the lessons began, she said.

As time went one, Kang began to sexually abuse the woman, then a child, anytime she made a mistake, she said. Kang often explained away the abuse as a “technique” to help her cello playing, the woman testified.

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 his 2018 arrest.

He also served a member of the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra and was formerly regarded as the No. 1 cellist in Seoul, South Korea, his attorneys said.

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