Bay Area pianist faces charges of child molestation

Famed Bay Area ragtime pianist Frederick Hodges is scheduled to continue his trial Monday at the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland for alleged sexual offences involving two children in Berkeley and Oakland.

Hodges faces several counts of child molestation stemming from individual encounters he allegedly had with two 12-year-old boys in homes in Oakland, Berkeley and Walnut Creek in 2007.

Hodges has been charged with seven felony counts, including five 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, according to Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Jimmie Wilson. Hodges could face a maximum sentence of life in prison.

According to Bay City News, Hodges has been under investigation by Oakland police since 2009, when a boy came forward and claimed he was molested by Hodges in 2007. Hodges was first arrested in spring 2010, and was later released on $1.25 million bail.

Wilson declined to comment on most of the details of the ongoing case, but said there is a possibility the jury will decide whether to convict Hodges as soon as Monday.

Hodges’s defense attorney Patrick Clancy argued Hodges should be acquitted of all charges because the prosecution’s evidence is based on interviews with alleged victims that Clancy said may have been subjected to unfair questioning techniques by police, according to Bay City News. He said one of the children interviewed may have been influenced by “unfounded gossip”.

According to Bay City News, Hodges is continuing to perform as a musician while the trial is in progress. He regularly plays for parties and events in hotels throughout San Francisco, according to his personal website.