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Ruling expected Friday in child sex case against ex-Bloomington instructor

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BLOOMINGTON – Arguments in the first of potentially six trials of a former Bloomington piano teacher accused of sexually assaulting his students concluded Tuesday with defense lawyers questioning the victim’s age and who created the graphic videos shown in court.

Aaron M. Parlier, 40, was charged in 2018 with 38 felony counts of sexual assault of a minor and child pornography.

He is charged in the current trial with 10 counts of predatory criminal sexual assault and 10 counts of child pornography production. The remaining charges have been severed and will be tried separately for each victim.

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Aaron Parlier, center, a former Bloomington piano teacher charged with 38 sex crimes, arrives for his bench trial in McLean County Court on Monday. 

Judge Casey Costigan expects to deliver a ruling Friday morning.

Prosecutors showed nearly an hour’s worth of video Monday showing the girl perform sexual acts while Parlier directed her what to do and at times what to say.

The victim’s mother testified Monday that her daughter was about 8 years old at the time based on still photos taken from the videos.

The mother also testified that her daughter began piano lessons with Parlier when she was 6 years old and they lasted until eighth grade. She said the lessons took place in a room next to the foyer of their home.

Aaron Parlier

Aaron Parlier pictured left in 2018 and right in 2011.

Defense lawyer Adam Bolotin argued Tuesday that there should be five counts of child pornography possession rather than production, arguing that prosecutors failed to prove who produced the videos. His argument also was based on that some videos contained the same content and that some videos were the same file but cut up.

McLean County Assistant State’s Attorney Erika Reynolds said that “it’s clear that he reproduced these.” She said the videos were manipulated and edited.

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Aaron Parlier, center, a former Bloomington piano teacher charged with 38 sex crimes, listens as his legal team (Gal Pissetzky, left, and Adam Bolotin, right) makes a point during bench trial in McLean County Court, Monday, Oct. 18, 2021.

Bloomington police officers testified Monday that a laptop that contained the videos was seized from Parlier’s home in Mackinaw in 2018.

Bolotin also said the state failed to prove the victim’s age, pointing to the mother’s testimony as not enough evidence.

“The state did not call (the child) to testify that ‘I remember specifically that it was before my 13th birthday that these things happened.’” Bolotin said. “They did not call a pediatric expert to testify that based on the way that (the child’s) body looked in these videos…an expert witness believes that (the child) was under the age of 13.”

He also said the language the child uses in the videos “does not show a childhood innocence.”

“The videos, based on her language and what she’s saying and how she’s acting and what she’s talking about her body going through, negate childhood innocence,” Bolotin said.

Reynolds scoffed at Bolotin’s claim that the child did not show innocence.

“The suggestion that this child didn’t act in an innocent manner is offensive,” Reynolds said. “Obviously, her innocence had been stolen and it had been stolen by this defendant.”

The prosecutor also said a mother’s testimony is enough to prove the girl was less than 13 years old because “every single mother would know exactly how old their kid is based on looking at an image of their child from the past.”


Contact Kade Heather at 309-820-3256. Follow him on Twitter: @kadeheather

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