What to Know
- Oliver Sohngen, founder and director of the Long Island City Academy of Music on 23rd Street, was arrested Tuesday
- Sohngen, originally from Germany, allegedly used a "pimp" to find and bring him young children for sex
- There was no answer at his music school when NBC 4 New York called Tuesday morning; attorney information wasn't immediately available
A noted Queens music teacher has been arrested for a litany of alleged sex crimes against young children, including trying to buy sex with girls as young as 8 and engaging in sexual contact with teenagers.
Oliver Sohngen, founder and director of the Long Island City Academy of Music on 23rd Street, faces an eight-count federal complaint charging him with sex trafficking of a minor and other acts.
Homeland Security Investigations agents and members of the NYPD arrested Sohngen -- who is originally from Germany -- on Tuesday and police were searching his music school for evidence. They were also searching his nearby home.
Sohngen allegedly used a "pimp" to find and bring him the young children. Investigators said he specifically requested young girls, in some cases as young as eight. Officials did not say if any students at his Long Island City school were victims.
On at least two occasions, Sohngen allegedly engaged in sexual contact with 15- and 17-year-old girls. He also allegedly exchanged text messages with an individual for the purpose of purchasing sex acts with girls ranging in age from 8 to 17. One law enforcement official said there were "numerous" victims but investigators are still trying to determine the total number.
In one series of text messages, which the government reproduced in the criminal complaint, Sohngen allegedly negotiated a $1,600 price to conduct various sexual acts with two girls, ages 8 and 13, and to then drop them off with family at a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant afterward.
The criminal complaint says Sohngen had also been talking via cell with an undercover NYPD officer posing as a 15-year-old girl since January 2016. He allegedly tried to meet her for sex as well.
Information on his attorney wasn't immediately available; a message was left at the school. Sohngen is expected to appear in federal court in Manhattan later in the day.
According to the Queens Ledger, Sohngen came to the United States on a scholarship in 1990 to study at the Cleveland Institute of Music; he received a bachelor's degree in opera singing and later a master's in vocal performance. Sohngen opened the academy in 2010.