WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — The trial for a former high school band director charged with child sex crimes is underway in Luzerne County.
Prosecutors accuse 30-year-old Brendan Carter of inappropriate sexual conduct with band members. It was a day of high drama and intense testimony inside courtroom number three. Thursday Carter took the stand in his own defense.
He is facing a slew of charges including sexual assault in connection with current and former members of the Pittston Area High School Band. He was first charged in October of 2018 in connection with five students and arrested a second time in April of 2019 when investigators say more victims came forward.
Prosecutors say the crimes were committed between 2014 and 2018. Nine of the alleged victims testified this week that Carter would play sexual games with some students and forced other students to expose themselves.
The students say it happened before, during and after band practice as well as on the bus heading to and from performances.
Carter testified today that the allegations are simply not true. His defense attorney Andrew Katsock asked him, “Did you ever hear any complaints from students that you did anything inappropriate with students?”
Carter: “Not that I’m aware of.”
Katsock: “Did you ever play a game called ‘Pants’ where you pull down the pants of a student?”
Carter: “Never. I never told students to take off another student’s pants.”
The case stunned many people in the Pittston area.
“I knew a couple of students that knew of it who were part of the band. They were surprised themselves,” Karizma Stevens of Pittston said.
“I just feel as a teacher you would never expect a teacher to do something like that. When I actually sat there and heard about it I was astonished,” Alana Lynch of Pittston said.
The jury could begin deliberations Friday. Carter faces 20-plus years in prison if convicted.