Mass. theater founder convicted of raping teenager

The founder of a western Massachusetts theater has been convicted of raping a teenage girl who took acting lessons from him.

David Fried Oppenheim, founder of the defunct Pioneer Arts Center in Easthampton, was convicted in early February of child rape and abuse of a child. The Hampshire Superior Court jury in Northampton deliberated over two days. The alleged victim testified the sexual abuse began in 2007 when she was 14 and continued until 2009.

Other former students and theater workers testified he either had sex with them or acted inappropriately toward them when they were between ages 16 and 19. He wasn’t charged over those allegations.

The 38-year-old Fried Oppenheim also testified and denied the charges.

Bail was set at $5,000 and sentencing set for March 8. Sentencing guidelines are in the 3-to-5-year range. The maximum is life.

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