The trial for a Monroe dance instructor arrested last year for allegedly inappropriately touching a student is set for Monday, Aug. 7. Kristopher Backman, 33,
Kristopher Backman, 33, was originally charged with second-degree child molestation almost exactly one year ago, following a seven-month investigation. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment days later. It was not the first time a student had raised concerns.
The victim’s mother reported to the Monroe Police Department that Backman had touched her then 15-year-old daughter on three separate occasions. The contact occurred during private lessons with the instructor, who co-owned the Stanza Performing Arts Company with his wife.
In a statement the victim said Backman was helping her stretch each time. She described herself as “feeling paralyzed and having a racing heart,” according to probable cause documents. She then acted as if nothing had happened, and the lesson continued.
The third time it happened she asked Backman, “What are you doing?” and he “eventually got up and left,” according to court documents. She showed police that she had posted on social media after the first incident.
The early December 2014 post read, “That ruined me.” Backman told police he rarely helped students stretch, and parents have to sign a waiver at the studio that gives him permission to make “corrections.”
Other witnesses were contacted, according to court documents. While none of them reported inappropriate touching, most said they had witnessed Backman engage in “inappropriate comments and conduct.” All were about the same age as the victim, between 11 and 16 years old, and attended the studio at about the same time.
Backman reportedly played “Cards Against Humanity” when the students’ parents and his wife were not around, according to court documents. He allegedly would often play sexually explicit cards during his turns, and bring up sexual subjects or make inappropriate comments to female students, including about his past drug use.
Another mother had contacted the Redmond Police Department about her daughter in 2008. The other victim was also 15 at the time the report was filed. Her daughter had been a student of Backman’s, and the alleged inappropriate contact reportedly started during private lessons. The alleged victim told police she had sex with Backman four times in his car while she was supposed to be in class.
The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office declined the case.