Meadowmount Director fights sexual assault allegations

WESTPORT A former male student of the prestigious Meadowmount School of Music has filed a lawsuit alleging that the schools director, Owen Carman, committed sexual misconduct against him while he was studying music there. The lawsuit, filed in Bronx Supreme Court in February, claims that Carman first had sexual relations with the boy, then 16, at the school during the summer of 2005. The suit also alleges that in the summer of 2006, Carman housed the teen at his personal residence at Meadowmount and paid his tuition, demanding that the boy perform sexual acts on him several times a week in exchange. Court papers also state that Carman later urged the ex-pupil to become a male prostitute and arranged interstate transportation of him for sexual purposes, a federal crime. The male student, who is not being identified because he was a minor at the time the alleged misconduct took place, claims in his lawsuit, Mr. Carman agreed to help [the boy] in his career in exchange for sexual activity with [the boy]. Meadowmount itself is named as a defendant in the suit on the basis that the school is liable for Carmans actions within his capacity as director. It calls for unspecified damages against Carman and Meadowmount in excess of the jurisdictional minimum of the court, which is $25,000. The lawsuit also seeks an injunction that would bar the school from teaching minors. Carman, in turn, has filed a counter-suit for extortion and defamation of character. According to Carmans lawyer, Terrence Kindlan, Carman denies having any kind of illicit relationship with the boy at Meadowmount or at any time while the boy was under the age of 17, the legal age of consent in New York State. In his counterclaim, Carman alleges that the plaintiff, now age 19, frequently and voluntarily engages in sexual activity with other men as a male prostitute and advertises his services online under the name JayJuicyJuice. Kindlan said he has written evidence showing the plaintiff threatened Carman with bringing false allegations against him unless he agreed to send the boy money. Allegedly, the plaintiff extorted substantial sums of money from Carman over a period of about two years. The counterclaim states, When Owen Carman finally refused to pay any more money to [the plaintiff] he initiated the instant malicious prosecution, which has no factual basis, and which he is pursuing for an improper purpose. Zachary Ohnuma, legal representative for the plaintiff, said that damages could potentially amount to millions. Our intention is not to put Meadowmount out of business, said Ohnuma, but to make our client whole and to protect other children from being harmed. Meadowmount, which boasts more than 60 years as a prestigious music school for both youth and adults, has continued its operation for the 2008 season. Meanwhile, Carman, who has been teaching at Meadowmount since 1981, has decided to take time away from the school on sabbatical leave. A preliminary conference took place on July 14 with both sides meeting before a judge to order the exchange of requested information. Depositions have been ordered to take place within the next 60 days. A trial date has not yet been determined.

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