Parents 'sick' with news ballet studio owners charged with child sex crimes involving student

Parents 'sick' with news ballet studio owners charged with child sex crimes involving student
Declan McAuley (Source: Oldham County Jail)
Declan McAuley (Source: Oldham County Jail)
Ariadne McAuley (Source: Oldham County Jail)
Ariadne McAuley (Source: Oldham County Jail)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A couple who owns a ballet studio is accused of engaging in sexual acts with a juvenile.

The victim was a student and an employee at Fleur-De-Lis Ballet Academy, located at 1860 Mellwood Avenue in Louisville. The studio is owned by Declan and Ariadne McAuley, according to Oldham County police.

According to an investigation, the McAuleys engaged in sexual acts with the victim at least seven times at their home in Crestwood between Aug. 11, 2017 and Dec. 10, 2017. The couple also had sex in front of the victim.

Declan and Ariadne McAuley were taken into custody Tuesday night and charged with sexual abuse and unlawful transaction with a minor.

Just hours before the arrests, 14-year-old dance student Sophia Pascua said she was taking lessons and getting pointers from Ariadne.

"They were very focused on the growth of each individual student and taking the competition part out of dance," Pascua said.

Pascua has been taking lessons at Fleur-De-Lis for two years.

"The whole environment there is just so positive and this doesn't seem to match up with my perception of the place and how I feel when I'm there," she said.

The studio has a great reputation among dancers and their parents. In 2016, the studio arranged for students to dance alongside professionals with the Moscow ballet.

"They're very forward thinking about the vision," Sophia's mom, Melissa, said. "They really want it to be a community and I think that that's really served a lot of kids' needs."

Melissa said that parents trusted the couple.

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"I felt so sick, so sick about what had come out and you start thinking, 'Who was it?' And, 'Was it just one person?' And, 'Could it have been more?' And, 'Oh my gosh has my child been alone...' You know that kind of thing," Melissa said. "Your mind goes there."

Classes at the studio were canceled Wednesday.

The Fleur-De-Lis academy was listed on this summer's Cultural Pass. The Louisville Free Public Library said it's no longer an approved venue.

The McAuley's will be back in court on Wednesday, June 20.

Mellwood Art and Entertainment Center released a statement to WAVE 3 News on Thursday in regards to the allegations.

"MAEC remains surprised and dismayed by the allegations against the owners of Fleur-De-Lis Ballet Academy. MAEC has no role in the day-to-day operations of our renters and cannot monitor conduct that occurs outside of our facility. MAEC will continue to follow the situation. Our first priority is to provide a safe environment for our community and all patrons of the center."

Fund for the Arts manages Cultural Pass daily. The organization had this to say:

"Fleur de Lis Dance Academy is no longer an approved venue for the 2018 Cultural Pass. The partners, venues, and sponsors of the Cultural Pass are committed to ensuring students and their families are able to learn, play, and explore art and culture in safe environments."

Oldham County police are continuing to investigate this case. Anyone with additional information is asked to call them at (502) 222-1300.

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