Highland Park Piano Teacher Convicted Of Child Endangerment

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NEW BRUNSWICK —  A Highland Park man was convicted Tuesday of endangering the welfare of a 9-year-old girl, Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan announced .

Franklin Jack Burr II, 64 , was found guilty by a jury in Middlesex County following a trial that began on May 4.

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The jury was unable to decide a count charging Burr with sexual assault. Superior Court Judge Dennis Nieves declared a mistrial on that charge. A decision has yet to be made on whether the state will seek to try the defendant again on the sexual assault count, officials said.

When he is sentenced for child endangerment, Burr faces up to five years in a New Jersey state prison with a 2 ½ – year period of parole ineligibility. His sentencing date has not been set.

After the verdict was returned, Nieves declined to revoke or raise the defendant’s bail. Burr remains free on $150,000 pending sentencing.

During the trial, Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Christie L. Bevacqua presented evidence and testimony contending that Burr, a private piano instructor, improperly touched the 9-year-old girl on a number of occasions while giving her piano lessons in Edison between November 2002, and January 2004.

Burr was arrested and charged following an investigation by then-Sgt. Joseph Shannon of the Edison Police Department and Investigator Lisa Collins of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.

Burr initially was convicted in October 2004 of sexual assault and endangering the welfare of the child, and was sentenced to a six-year prison term.

He subsequently appealed the conviction and was granted a new trial in June 2008 by an appellate court, which ruled that the judge in the first trial improperly precluded evidence that Burr contends he has a medical condition known as Asperger’s syndrome.


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