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Former B-N piano teacher sentenced to life in 2nd sexual assault case

Aaron Parlier walks into court
David Proeber
The Pantagraph (Pool)
Aaron Parlier, center, a former Bloomington piano teacher, arrives for his bench trial in McLean County Circuit Court on Oct. 18, 2021.

A former piano teacher serving 450 years for sexual assault of one of his students was sentenced to life in prison Monday for similar charges related to a second student.

Aaron Parlier, 41, was convicted in April in connection with an ongoing sexual relationship with a minor girl that lasted years and began when she was a minor.

The life term handed down by Judge Casey Costigan is in addition to the 450 years Parlier received in January, also given by Costigan.

Parlier was convicted in October 2021 for sexually assaulting another girl during the time he was providing piano lessons.

Prosecutor Erika Reynolds told the judge Monday that remaining charges against Parlier involving four additional alleged victims will be dismissed. Reynolds said three of the women did not wish to proceed with their cases and a fourth woman did not respond to the state.

After the hearing, Reynolds said the state is pleased with the life sentence for Parlier.

“I think it’s the definition of justice and I hope at this point the victims can find closure,” said Reynolds.

A victim impact statement read by Reynolds during the hearing illustrates the struggles the victim in the second case still faces more than a decade after the abuse by Parlier ended.

The woman described herself in the statement as a “sheltered and trusting child” who met Parlier when she was 6 years old.

“I’m still working to fully understand what happened and how it impacted my life,” said the victim, who described sleepless nights and being haunted by vivid nightmares of the sexual abuse.

In his comments, Costigan praised the courage of the women who came forward during the two trials.

“That courage has resulted in justice being done in this case,” said the judge.

The need to deter others from committing similar crimes against young people was a key element of the life sentence, said Costigan.

“Deterrence is something significant here because the law states that if you violate children in this way, you will spend the rest of your life in prison,” he said.

Parlier showed to visible reaction to the life sentence. Shackled at his wrists and ankles, he swiveled his chair, a slight smile emerging during portions of the hearing. When asked by the judge if he had any statement before the sentence was imposed, Parlier said, “I have nothing to add at this time.”

Parlier was arrested in 2018 after a high school student’s essay about her relationship with her then-piano teacher caught the attention of a teacher. As more potential victims were located by authorities, the charges mounted against the former Bloomington-Normal music instructor.

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Edith began her career as a reporter with The DeWitt County Observer, a weekly newspaper in Clinton. From 2007 to June 2019, Edith covered crime and legal issues for The Pantagraph, a daily newspaper in Bloomington, Illinois. She previously worked as a correspondent for The Pantagraph covering courts and local government issues in central Illinois.
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