Peter Antonelli, 66, spent nearly three decades pretending to be a respectable member of society by teaching children at two schools in East Lothian.
But the High Court in Edinburgh heard that he used his position to care for and abuse young girls under his care.
Jury members heard him tell dirty jokes and use bad language in front of his students, making photo shoots where he took explicit pictures. A witness also told the court that he bought her underwear.
Antonelli from Gullane, East Lothian, said he had done nothing wrong. He claimed he had a sexual relationship with one of his students when she turned 17.
And he maintained that it was common in the 1980s for teachers to date students.
But a jury found him guilty of charges of rape, fornication and libidinous conduct and indecent assault on six victims, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
Their decision prompted Judge Jamie Gilchrist QC to remand Antonelli in custody.
Antonelli was awarded an MBE for Music Education Services in the 2004 New Year’s Honors list.
The court heard that he had studied at the prestigious Royal College of Music in London before becoming a teacher.
One of the women who testified against him said Antonelli was respected in East Lothian and that his music had been played on the radio.
He used the cloak of respectability to groom his six victims between 1980 and 2005.
One said he would run his finger up her back and to her it seemed like he was feeling for a bra strap while she was going to high school.
The woman, now 45, said, “He would run his hand seductively down your back. It was disgusting.”
She said there came a time when she refused to go to further lessons.
The woman told that she had started piano lessons in primary school when she thought she was going to infant school. She told the elementary school teacher with Antonelli that there were no other teachers or students present and that he would sit “right next to me on the stool and touch”.
She added: “He always put his hand on your butt and up your back. I think I just froze. I did not know what to do. This should be a teacher you should trust. Another woman – now 52 – told the court how Antonelli called her PB – who stood for Perfect Bum – and took obscene photos of her during photo shoots he organized. She said some of the photos showed her “private parts”.
The woman said Antonelli was “excited” when he took the pictures.
She also told the court that Mr Antonelli made her perform sexual acts on him and made her go on birth control pills when she turned 16 because he did not want to make her “pregnant”.
The woman told the court that Mr Antonelli also indulged in “controlling behavior” towards her by repeatedly calling her and following her.
The woman told the court she was a “victim” of Mr Antonelli.
She added: “He would use inappropriate language – words like ‘t ** s’ and’ f *** y; – he would not speak like a teacher. It was completely inappropriate and it went over the limit of the language a teacher would use. ”
Speaking about what would happen when he took the pictures, the woman added: “He used to get excited. When this happened, he laughed a little.
“He was permanently excited. He wanted to touch his pants. He wanted to rub it and laugh. ”
The woman also told the court that as she got older, Mr Antonelli bought her underwear for the pictures he took.
The woman said that when she turned 16, Mr Antonelli had her perform sex acts on him.
She said she did not know how to stop what was happening to her.
The woman said: “I did not know how to get out of it. He had a boyfriend and I could not understand why he did it.
“He would not use his penis on me until I was 16 because he did not want to make me pregnant.”
She added: “When I look back at the pictures, I have dead eyes. I was just resigned to it.”
She also said Mr Antonelli wanted her to take the pill and started having sex with her.
She added: “He said he would not make me pregnant so I had to go on birth control pills.
“So I went to the doctor and went on birth control pills.”
Antonelli admitted to having a sexual relationship with the girl when she turned 17 and he was 31 years old.
Antonelli said he had been engaged to another woman for months until he became sexually involved with his student.
He told his lawyer Brian McConnachie QC: “At the time, it was pretty common then. Not now. But then it was pretty common.”
In his closing speech to jurors, prosecutor Chris Fyffe said Antonelli was “manipulative” and cared for impressionable children and normalized his activities behind the form of a piano teacher.
He added: “Piano teaching gave him access to young girls on a one-to-one basis, but it also gave him a cover story.”
He said Antonelli had posed and instructed young people at photo shoots, but his “alleged artistic interest in photography was just a smokescreen”.
Fyffe added: “We now know that Peter Antonelli had a special interest in photographing young girls. This took place behind closed doors.”
Judge Gilchrist also placed Antonelli on the list of sex offenders. He will be convicted by the High Court on December 22, 2021.
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