A violin teacher sentenced in 2017 for child molestation is the subject of a lawsuit filed on behalf of a former student.
Leon Messerlian, 87, of Clermont entered an Alford plea in September 2017 on child molestation charges. In an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges the evidence against him would likely be enough to sway a jury to convict.
Messerlian was given a 30-year sentence, with 10 years to be served in confinement and the remainder on probation. He is incarcerated at Calhoun State Prison in South Georgia.
The plaintiffs, a mother and child living in Hall County, filed the suit anonymously in January. The plaintiffs have asked the court to proceed under pseudonyms “in consideration of the sensitive allegations hereinafter made” in the lawsuit.
Messerlian, who has no attorney registered with court officials on this case, filed his response March 30.
None of the attorneys listed for the plaintiffs returned multiple calls for comment from The Times
According to the lawsuit, the child was attending what was believed to be violin lessons with Messerlian between January 2011 and July 2015.
The plaintiffs allege Messerlian molested the child and showed explicit images and videos.
“At all times relevant to this complaint, (Messerlian) actively communicated with (the parent) and made intentionally false representations to (the mother) concerning (the child’s) presence and progress at lessons and what events were occurring at these lessons,” according to the lawsuit.
In July 2015, the plaintiffs filed a report with the Hall County Sheriff’s Office.
In his answer to the plaintiffs’ first interrogatories, Messerlian answered he had made “reasonable inquiry and that the information known or readily obtainable by him is insufficient to enable him to answer truthfully” for all sections.
The lawsuit alleges intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault and battery, negligent infliction of emotional distress and fraud.