A Seattle piano teacher who was accused last year of making
lewd comments to a student was acquitted in King County
Superior Court last week.
The jury found 51-year-old Martin Buff not guilty after a
week-long trial. From the beginning, his defense attorney
maintained the accusations were unfounded.
Prosecutors claimed Buff, a piano teacher at his private
school The Piano Studio, was "grooming" a 13-year-old boy
for sex at his Lake City home where he taught the lessons.
But jurors appeared to agree with attorney David Allen, who
contested that any comments or actions construed to be
inappropriate were not sexual or, in some cases, even
directed at the boy.
Buff taught the boy for five years and was an adjunct music
teacher at Holy Names Academy, a Capitol Hill Catholic high
school for girls. He was charged with immoral communication
with a minor in September 2015, and acquitted Thursday.
The boy claimed that Buff called "younger men" his "guilty
pleasure" during a lesson, but the boy later admitted it was
only after Buff took a phone call during a lesson to make a
date with a man believed to be in his 20s.
Buff denied ever making such a statement, Allen wrote in
Prosecutors claimed Buff gave the teen a shoulder massage
during lessons, and that Buff placed his hand on the boy's
back beneath his T-shirt. The teen repeated some of the
allegations to a psychologist, who alerted police to the
The jury found Buff not guilty on the first tally, Allen
The criminal charge forced Buff to tell his students and
their parents about the accusations and Allen believes it's
the reason Holy Names did not renew his contract after nine
"It was really devastating for his business," Allen said,
adding that Buff hopes to rebuild his reputation.