‘He wreaked havoc on my life’; Teen victim testifies at former teacher’s sentencing for sex assault

‘He wreaked havoc on my life’; Teen victim testifies at former teacher’s sentencing for sex assault

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A judge on Monday sentenced a former Oahu music teacher who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting his student while he was employed at Le Jardin Academy.

Under a deal reached last October, Peter Rucci pleaded guilty to multiple counts of second- and third-degree sex assault. He will serve 90 days behind bars and be on probation for five years.

Rucci, 63, was initially charged with nine counts, including first-degree sex assault.

With that charge, he could have spent up to 20 years in prison.

The victim, who was 15 years old at the time of the 2017 assault, tearfully addressed the judge during the sentencing. She said fell behind in school and is still traumatized.

“He was a phenomenal mentor and he wreaked havoc on my life. It’s a miracle that I had the strength to get this far,” she said.

The teen lost her love of music and creative writing. The family agreed to the plea deal so she could try to close this painful chapter in her life.

“I genuinely do not feel that 90 days is any match for what I’ve been through," said the victim. "Extreme suicidal ideation prompted me to build a bridge over my trauma.”

The victim’s mother also expressed her outrage in court.

“She has been derailed. Her course has been changed. She was very courageous to make Rucci’s crimes public,” the mother said.

After his arrest, Rucci was fired from his job as a band director at another school. He declined to make a statement in court Monday.

“It’s always difficult because he faces the possibility of a civil lawsuit. There are other consequences that can still arise from this,” explained his defense attorney, Victor Bakke. “Today was really not about us, it was more about the victim and her mother, and allowing them to have their day in court.”

Rucci must take part in Hawaii’s sex offender treatment program and be listed on the state’s sex offender registry.

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