Assault charges against music teacher dropped |

Assault charges against music teacher dropped

Eben Harrell
Assistant District Attorney Vince Felletter and defense attorney Pamela Mackey discuss the fate of William John Nauman outside district court on Monday. Aspen Times photo/Mark Fox.

An Aspen Music Festival and School faculty member charged with attempted sexual assault on a former student pleaded guilty Monday to the lesser charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Pianist William John Nauman, 42, now faces five years of probation and will no longer be allowed to teach students under the age of 18.Nauman was accused last summer of sexually propositioning his then 17-year-old student. The student stayed at Nauman’s Aspen residence as he prepared for a piano recital. Nauman took the student to local bars and pressured him to consume alcohol, which led to yesterday’s conviction.

In exchange for the guilty plea, the district attorney dropped two charges relating to sexual assault. Although he will carry a felony conviction, Nauman will not be registered as a sex offender. Nauman was sentenced to five years probation with the stipulations that he no longer teach piano to students under 18, seek treatment for alcoholism, perform 75 hours of community service, and “refrain from defaming or criticizing the victim, his parents or his other piano teachers.” Last summer, Nauman allegedly told his student he would sabotage the young pianist’s career unless he submitted to his sexual advances. Appearing in court with his high-profile defense attorney Pamela Mackey, who also defended Kobe Bryant, Nauman said his life-long addiction to alcohol contributed to his behavior.

“I’ve come back to [Alcoholic’s Anonymous]. I’ve been sober since this atrocious incident … it’s devastating … it’s terrible. I regret any pain I inflicted on [the student’s] family, especially the student … I sincerely, profoundly regret the choice to pick up a drink again. I ask the forgiveness of this court, of the [student’s] family and of Aspen, which meant so much to me. It was a home to me for eight years. It’s so hard to come back here now,” Nauman told the court in tears.Assistant District Attorney Vince Felletter told the court he agreed to the plea bargain after a lengthy discussion with the student’s family. “I’ve spoken with the family and there’s really no anger, just a simple resolve that … this not happen to other students who might come under the defendant’s instruction,” Felletter said. Felletter also told the court that part of the conflict arose because Nauman is homosexual, while the student is heterosexual with a steady girlfriend at his home near Denver.

“What we have here is a straightforward, openly gay male. He deviated in his behavior toward the [underage] victim in this case. We don’t have a predator here,” Felletter said.Nauman will remain in Colorado for at least 48 hours while probation arrangements are made in his home state of Maryland. Next fall, he intends to enroll in a doctorate program at the University of Arizona in Tucson, where he will continue his probation sentence.A spokeswoman for the Aspen Music Festival and School said the festival had no comment as of press time Monday.Eben Harrell’s e-mail address is

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