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'I hope you rot': Former Cleveland dance teacher Terence Greene gets at least 365 years for sexually abusing 8 teenage students

Once lauded for his skills as an instructor, Greene's name was disgraced once it was learned he had raped multiple children for more than two decades.

CLEVELAND — A disgraced former Cleveland dance teacher will almost certainly spend the rest of his life in prison for sexually abusing several of his students over a period of more than two decades.

Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Kevin Kelley on Thursday sentenced Terence Greene to life behind bars, with the possibility of parole after 365 years. Greene had previously been convicted last month of the following charges:

  • 16 counts of rape 
  • 25 counts of sexual battery 
  • 1 count of gross sexual imposition 
  • 8 counts of felonious assault 
  • 13 counts of kidnapping 
  • 2 counts of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles

Greene, 57, was once lauded for his skills as a teacher, helping a number of students make it to Broadway during his career at both the Cleveland School of the Arts and Cuyahoga Community College's Creative Arts. However, those accomplishments proved to merely be a cover for his crimes, as prosecutors say he raped and assaulted at least eight children between the ages of 14 and 17 from 1998-2019.

Back in 2004, Greene was found not guilty of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, continuing to teach while also apparently sharing hotel rooms with his students. It was not until June of 2020 that additional charges came Greene's way, and U.S. Marshals arrested him two months later in New York.

On Thursday, some of Greene's victims addressed the court, emotionally recounting the effect Greene's abuse had on them. One of those who spoke talked about the particular pain of Greene infecting him with HIV, as well as his feeling that even Greene receiving a lengthy prison term was "not enough."

"I don't forgive you, I don't wish you well, I don't wish good health, I hope you rot," the man told Greene. "I hope you have a terrible meal or two or three or however many they serve you, because everything that is coming to you is what you deserve."

Greene himself also spoke, continuing to deny all the charges against him. He claimed the "stress" of the case had caused "suffering" for him, and propped himself up as a mentor and father figure to his students.

"I'm not one to harm anyone," he stated, further asserting he had "never even heard of" some of his accusers. "God knows."

Prior to handing down the sentence, Kelley commended those who testified against Greene for their "courage," saying their efforts were "not lost on the court." The judge declined to say any final words to Greene directly, through he did note Greene will have to register as a Tier III sex offender for the remainder of his life should he ever leave prison.

Back in 2021, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District paid $3.25 million to settle a lawsuit brought by eight of Greene's former students. Tri-C has denied any knowledge of the abuse claims against Greene prior to hiring him.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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