Sherwood music teacher acquitted of sex crimes
A Sherwood music teacher and son of a city councilor was acquitted last week on two dozen felony charges.
Christopher Griffin was arrested in March and charged with multiple counts of first-degree sexual abuse, sodomy and unlawful sexual penetration. Sherwood police at the time said the abuse had been reported by a piano student, a minor, who had been taking lessons from him at Sherwood's Let's Make Music & Dance.
On Thursday, Dec. 19, Washington County Circuit Judge Oscar Garcia signed an order declaring Griffin not guilty on all charges and ordering his immediate release, according to court records.
The alleged abuse began in July 2018 and continued until February 2019, according to court records. The child reported being abused by Griffin to her grandmother, and investigators questioned and later arrested Griffin.
Griffin maintained his innocence, as did Let's Make Music & Dance, which is operated by Griffin's mother, DeLyn Griffin. The music school could not immediately be reached for comment.
The case went to trial on Dec. 10. Washington County Circuit Court records show Griffin waived his right to have his charges considered by a jury.
Unusually, Griffin's defense argued — successfully — to disqualify Judges Charles D. Bailey and Andrew R. Erwin from hearing the case. According to court documents, Griffin and attorney Jack Bernstein said both judges "would not be fair and impartial in this particular case."
Griffin is the son of Russell Griffin, a member of the Sherwood City Council.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story misstated the means of the defendant's acquittal in the sub-headline. He waived his right to a trial by jury and was declared not guilty by a Washington County circuit judge after a bench trial. The headline has been corrected.
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