New York City music teacher arrested for alleged sex trafficking of minors

Oliver Sohngen runs a music school in New York City.

— -- The founder of a New York City music school for children was arrested this morning on federal charges alleging he had sex with teen girls and tried to arrange sexual contact with girls as young as 8 years old, authorities said. None of the alleged victims referred to in the criminal complaint appear to be students of the music teacher.

Sohngen, whose Facebook page says he is originally from Germany and that he studied at Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Institute of Music, allegedly used a pimp to arrange sexual encounters with girls 8 to 17 years old.

The criminal complaint alleges he had sexual contact with a 15-year-old girl and a 17-year-old girl and tried to purchase sexual encounters with others ages 8 to 17.

“Sohngen appears to have exchanged text messages with an individual for the purpose of purchasing commercial sex acts with minor girls ranging in age from eight to seventeen,” Special Agent Miguel Collazo of Homeland Security Investigations said in the complaint. “Moreover, on at least two occasions, Sohngen engaged in various forms of sexual contact with 15- and 17-year-old girls, both times arranged” by the same individual.

Sometime between late 2015 and early 2016, the complaint alleges, Sohngen was talking by phone to an undercover New York City police officer pretending to be a 15-year-old girl. He allegedly tried to arrange to meet her for “oral sex and other sexual contact.”

Investigators learned of Sohngen after the pimp he is alleged to have contacted was arrested in November 2013, according to the federal complaint. A search of the pimp’s phone allegedly revealed contact information for Sohngen. The complaint also said that two teens identified Sohngen as having paid to have sexual contact with them.

Sohngen is due to appear today in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan for an initial hearing. It’s not immediately clear whether he has a defense attorney representing him yet.