May 17, By Christian Murray
The founder of the Long Island City Academy of Music was arrested Tuesday for allegedly having sex with teenage girls and for trying to arrange sexual liaisons with girls as young as 8-years old, according to authorities.
Oliver Sohngen was arrested by federal agents at his Long Island City home yesterday and was charged with sex trafficking and attempted sex trafficking of girls aged 8 to 17, according to the criminal complaint. If convicted, he could go to prison for the rest of his life.
Authorities said that none of the girls appeared to be students of his music school.
Sohngen, who is originally from Germany, allegedly started working with a pimp in 2013 who would text the defendant whenever he had found girls for him to have sex with, according to the complaint. The texts were written in code to disguise the ages of the victims.
On one occasion, the Bronx-based pimp told Sohngen that he had could arrange for him to have sex with an 8-year-old and a 13-year-old girl, according to the complaint. Via text messages, Sohngen agreed to pay $1,600 for both girls and was instructed by the pimp to take them to a hotel and drop them off at Chuck E Cheese in Harlem afterward.
In the text messages, the ages of the victims were coded by switching the first and second numbers of their ages around. For instance, the 13-year-old was described as 31 and the 8-year-old as 80, according to the complaint.
Sohngen never met up with the girls. However, he did successful pay and have sex with a 15-year and 17-year old that was organized by the pimp, according to the complaint. The teenagers confirmed that they had indeed had sex with Sohngen.
Sohngen originally came to the attention of authorities when they arrested the unnamed pimp in 2013. Investigators searched the pimp’s phone records and discovered the text messages where the meetings were arranged.
The complaint makes no mention of any sexual meetings or encounters in 2014.
However, in 2015 Sohngen allegedly posted an ad on the web stating his desire for sexual encounters, according to the complaint.
An undercover NYPD detective responded who told via Sohngen that she was 15. He allegedly tried to meet her for “oral sex and other sexual contact,” according to the complaint.
The discussions were both over the phone and via text message. The phone conversations were recorded.
Sohngen’s arrest was announced by the acting US Attorney for the South District of New York, the Bronx District Attorney, the head of U.S. Immigration and Customers Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations section and the NYPD commissioner.
“Oliver Sohngen, a music teacher, allegedly engaged in disturbing, predatory conduct: preying on minor girls for sex,” said Joon Kim, the acting US Attorney for the south district, said in a statement. “He allegedly had sexual contact with minor girls at least twice, and attempted to engage in sex trafficking of girls under the age of 14.”
Sohngen has agreed to remain in the custody and may seek bail at a future date, according to the US attorney’s office.