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Violin teacher denied bond in child molestation charge
Judge agrees with DA office that Messerlian is a flight risk
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A Clermont violin teacher accused of child molestation was denied bond Friday as a flight risk possibility in Magistrate Court.

Attorney Bill Akins for the district attorney’s office argued to deny bond for Leon Messerlian, 85, who is charged by Hall County authorities with child molestation.

“I have just been advised (Friday) morning that there are at least three more victims that have come forward,” Akins said.

Hall County Sheriff’s Office investigators obtained warrants for Messerlian on July 29 following an allegation by a student. The warrants listed the time span as Feb. 1, 2010, to July 17 of this year.

He was originally charged with child molestation, sexual battery and enticing a child for indecent purposes.

Messerlian was later charged with 50 counts of possession of child pornography after a search of his computer hard drives, according to sheriff’s office spokeswoman Deputy Nicole Bailes.

Attorneys Mike Weaver and Clinton Teston joined Messerlian at the defense table Friday morning for his committal hearing, which Messerlian chose to waive.

With a row of friends, family and former students in the seats behind him, Teston presented letters from his supporters “talking about his character (and) how he was when he was their teacher.”

“His students would testify that he never did anything inappropriate,” Teston said.

Supporters outside the courtroom said he was a good friend and good teacher.

Teston told Magistrate Court Judge David Burroughs that the 85-year-old man living with his wife in Clermont was not a flight risk nor a risk to commit further felonious acts. He said the two were living on a fixed income and that Messerlian had no prior criminal history.

Akins argued Messerlian’s connections to foreign countries for his studies and out-of-state ties would be a case for no bond.

Burroughs, calling the charges “extraordinarily serious,” decided to deny bond.

“Mr. Messerlian has ties to other jurisdictions other than the state of Georgia and also has ties to other countries other than the United States,” he said.

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