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Orange County

Family of Choirboy Sues, Alleging Molestation

September 16, 2003|David Reyes | Times Staff Writer

The family of a Buena Park boy allegedly molested by a voice instructor with the Orange County-based All-American Boys Chorus has filed a $5-million lawsuit against the choir and its former employee.

The family, identified in the lawsuit only by the boy's initials, says the choir was negligent in its hiring and supervision of Roger Alan Giese, who it says intentionally caused emotional distress when he allegedly sexually battered the boy.

The plaintiffs, who filed the case in Orange County Superior Court on Wednesday, are the boy, his parents and a sibling.

Giese, 27, has been charged with four counts of lewd acts upon a child and related charges.

If convicted, he faces up to nearly 13 years in prison. He has pleaded not guilty. A jury trial is scheduled to start Oct. 27.

Criminal attorney Ron Brower said his client does not intend to accept a plea bargain. "He's taken the position that, in fact, he is not guilty," Brower said.

Usually victims and their families wait until the criminal trial is over before filing a civil lawsuit, which can be strengthened by a guilty verdict.

The family's attorney, Patricia J. Grace, did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Giese, an Irvine businessman, is accused in both the criminal complaint and civil suit of molesting the boy from May 1998 -- when he was 13 -- to May 2002.

According to the lawsuit, Giese has had a longtime association with the boys' choir, having begun a singing career as a boy alto. In 1993, he was hired as director of communication and then as a voice instructor.

He eventually was promoted to assistant choir director.

Giese resigned from the chorus a year ago because he didn't want anyone connected to the organization to feel uncomfortable while he fought to clear himself of the criminal charges, his attorney said.

Anthony Manrique, executive director of the All-American Boys Chorus, could not be reached for comment.

The lawsuit alleges that Giese used ploys that encouraged intimacy with the boy while he gave him private singing lessons.

The lessons occurred at the boy's home, according to the criminal court record.

The boy later told police he believed Giese stopped molesting him because he had stopped believing Giese's stories, court records show.

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