* Frederick Hodges was Found Not Guilty of Allegations That He Molested Two 12 Year Old Boys in Berkeley and Oakland
Published by Staff Reporter on April 17, 2012
A jury today found a prominent and popular local ragtime pianist not guilty of nearly all allegations that he molested two 12-year-old boys in Berkeley and Oakland five years ago. After deliberating for two and a half days, jurors found Frederick Hodges, 50, not guilty of six counts involving one of the alleged victims and deadlocked 7-5 in favor of finding him not guilty of one count involving the other alleged victim. The charges for which Hodges was acquitted are four counts of committing lewd acts with a child under the age of 14, one count of oral copulation with a child under 14 and one count of possession of child pornography. The charge on which jurors deadlocked was one additional count of committing lewd acts with a child.
Hodges, who is free on $1.5 million bail, is scheduled to return to court on April 25, when the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office will announce whether it will seek a retrial on the lone remaining count. Hodges’ attorney, Patrick Clancy, said, “We’re happy with the verdicts. We’re sitting in a very strong position and we hope the District Attorney won’t re-try the one remaining count.” Prosecutor Jimmie Wilson couldn’t be reached for comment this afternoon. Clancy told jurors in his closing argument last week that Hodges should be found not guilty of all charges against him because the case against him is weak and is based on interviews of the alleged victims in which he believes a police investigator coerced them to make incriminating statements about Hodges. Clancy admitted that Hodges touched both boys but said it was not in a sexual way. He said Hodges “had no sexual intent” and “what he did is not a crime.” Hodges’ website says he is “hailed by the press as one of the best ragtime pianists in the world” and “is sought after by today’s foremost orchestras, festivals, conductors and collaborative musicians.”
The website says Hodges is a native of California who earned a doctorate in history from Oxford in 2001 and has had a steady career playing solo piano for society parties and holding regular engagements at San Francisco establishments such as L’Etoile in the Huntington Hotel, Masons in the Fairmont Hotel and the Ritz Carlton Hotel. About 35 of Hodges’ supporters attended the closing arguments as well as most of his trial.
Clancy said most of Hodges’ supporters are from the Art Deco Society of California, which is based in San Francisco and seeks to increase public awareness of the Art Deco era through preserving and promoting its art, music, architecture and design. He said Hodges, who parts his blonde hair in the middle in the style of the 1920s, raised his bail funds from his friends in the Art Deco Society. Wilson said Oakland police began investigating Hodges in 2009 when a boy told authorities that Hodges had molested him two years earlier, in 2007. The boy had told his girlfriend that his first sexual experience had been with Hodges and she said he needed to talk to his parents and eventually he told his parents and police what happened, according to Wilson.
Oakland police Officer Michael Troupe conducted an investigation and found evidence that Hodges had also molested a second boy during the same time period in 2007, Wilson said. The prosecutor said Hodges didn’t touch the second alleged victim in a sexual manner but Hodges is still charged with lewd and lascivious conduct because authorities believe he touched the boy with the intent to become sexually aroused. Wilson said Hodges is accused of more directly touching and interacting sexually with the first alleged victim who came forward.
The alleged incidents occurred in homes where Hodges lived in Berkeley and Oakland as well as at a home in Walnut Creek where Hodges was house-sitting, Wilson said. The parents of the alleged victims encouraged the boys to spend time with Hodges because they thought he would be a good mentor, he said. One of the boys took piano lessons from Hodges and dressed in clothes from the Art Deco era similar to the clothes that Hodges wears.
Hodges was arrested by Oakland police in the spring of 2010 but was released on bail later that year. He has continued to perform while he’s been free on bail. In his closing argument, Clancy alleged that Troupe had “an agenda” to browbeat the first alleged victim into making incriminating statements against Hodges. Clancy also said the first alleged victim “is a disturbed young man” with “serious psychological problems” and comes from “a messed-up family.”
Copyright © 2012 by Bay City News, Inc. — Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.
Please call the Fugitive Watch hot line at 1-800-9-CAUGHT (1-800-922-8448) or text us at 408-355-0999 or CLICK HERE to send a confidential email tip, if you have any information that can help solve this crime.
Por favor llame la línea de Los Fugitivos en 1-800-9-CAUGHT (1-800-922-8448) o texto en 408-355-0999 o haga clic aquí para enviar un email a firstname.lastname@example.org, si usted tiene alguna información que pueda ayudar a resolver este crimen.
Comment Advisement We welcome your thoughts, but for the sake of all readers, please refrain from the use of obscenities, personal attacks or racial slurs. All comments are subject to our terms of service and may be removed. Repeat offenders may lose commenting privileges.