Fresno music teacher accused of sex crimes appears in court

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Gabriel Argote has pleaded not guilty to one felony count. Fresno police say it happened during a private lesson on Valentine's Day, but the family of an 11-year-old sex assault victim says Argote has stripped their daughter of her innocence and ruined her love of piano. (KFSN)

The family of an 11-year-old sex assault victim says a music teacher has stripped their daughter of her innocence and ruined her love of piano.

Gabriel Argote has pleaded not guilty to one felony count. Fresno police say it happened during a private lesson on Valentine's Day.

Gabriel Argote did confess to the crime during a police interview. The victim's family says the suspect groomed their daughter prior to the day he is accused of crossing the line. Inside a room with clear glass doors and a sign that says 'under surveillance' is the place Fresno Police believe a longtime music teacher sexually assaulted a student.

The victim's parents said they were shocked when their daughter told them what happened right after leaving her lesson on February 14. "He was very charming, presentable, intelligent, confident and I was very surprised to learn that he had done that," the parents said.

Argote appeared in a Fresno County courtroom Monday morning. The victim's family says the past few weeks have been filled tears and sadness. They are also worried the teacher, who went as far as greeting them with religious phrases like 'god bless you,' may have done this before.

"Our biggest concern right now is that there might be other students whose parents also have that trust," the family said. "And we encourage anybody to come forward and not to suffer in silence if they've also been a victim."

Argote taught 10 to 12 hours a week at Legends Music Sound Stage on Blackstone near Dakota Avenues. The manager told Action News: "We're sad to hear what has happened. Our hearts go out to the victim and her family. We will be working to ensure this doesn't ever happen again."

Security cameras will also be installed in each instruction room. Right now, the signs are only fake warnings in the lesson rooms.
Related Topics:
newschild sex assaultfresnocourt caseFresno - Downtown
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