CLEVELAND — A former school dance teacher in Cleveland was sentenced Thursday to life in prison for raping six teenage students and sexually abusing two others.
Terence Greene, 57, was convicted late last month by a Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court jury that also found him guilty of kidnapping and felonious assault. He was an acclaimed teacher who helped launch the careers of many young dancers, including some who performed on Broadway.
“I’m not one to harm anyone,” Greene said during the hearing. “Half of them weren’t even my students. To listen to my life in front of me and see all that has been said. … All I can say is ‘Wow, OK God, what’s next?’ God knows.”
Greene’s attorney, W. Scott Ramsey, said his client still assumes his innocence but is “looking forward to an appeal.”
Prosecutors have said Greene began sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy in the late 1990s, soon after he was hired by the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. The eight victims in the case were ages 14 to 17 when the abuse began, prosecutors said.
Greene resigned from a high school for the arts in 2014 and later began working at Cuyahoga Community College's dance academy for children, where the abuse continued until 2019, according to prosecutors.
In 2021, the Cleveland public school district agreed to pay a $3.25 million settlement after eight former students filed a lawsuit accusing the school of failing to investigate past claims of sexual abuse against Greene.
Greene had been found not guilty of sexual battery charges involving a student in 2004 and returned to teaching that year.
The students’ lawsuit said the school allowed Greene to continue to share hotel rooms with students on school-sanctioned trips.
Cuyahoga Community College has denied being aware of Greene’s past claims of sexual abuse.