A widely known Indian classical musician has been charged with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl who was taking lessons from him.
Shafaatullah Khan, 42, of King of Prussia, has been charged with multiple counts of corruption of a minor, indecent assault, and related sexual offenses.
Khan plays sitar,
and tabla and teaches Indian classical music on a wide array of instruments. He is featured on at least 16 CDs and has played in concerts throughout the world. Last spring, he played a sitar concerto with the Mansfield (Pa.) University Symphony Orchestra at the Kimmel Center, and he is scheduled to play in August at Longwood Gardens.
Khan's attorney, Vincent DiFabio, said that he was looking forward to a trial and that Khan would be exonerated.
At a preliminary hearing in Bridgeport yesterday, the girl, now 16, said Khan had taught her keyboard lessons at his home in the fall of 2006 and the following winter.
When she told him her backpack gave her back pain, he showed her stretches and gave her a massage, she said. As her lessons continued, the massages went further, and he asked her to take off her shirt and bra and touched her breasts, she said. She alleges that at a lesson in December, Khan got on top of her with his clothes on and made sexual comments to her while thrusting his hips.
The girl said that she told Khan in February 2007 to stop touching her, and that he complied. She did not tell her parents about her allegations until a year later. After she did, she provided police with e-mails confiding the incidents to friends, according to a criminal complaint.
Khan was permitted to leave yesterday on his own, but Judge James Gallagher asked that he not give lessons to minors and surrender his passport.
Khan, a native of India, has been a U.S. citizen since 1995. He has lived in Montgomery County for at least 10 years, first in Ardmore and then King of Prussia.
In interviews, Khan has said he's the eighth generation of musicians in his family. His father, Imrat Khan, and his uncle Vilayat Khan also play the sitar and are popular Indian classical performers.
Khan has conducted workshops and demonstrations at universities across the country. Each spring, he performs for students in a world-music course at Lafayette College, according to a college spokeswoman. He was an artist in residence at the college in 1999 and 2000.
Khan is also featured in an Imax documentary film called
Pulse: A STOMP Odyssey