20 Aug 2014
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Popular Violin Coach Signs Plea Deal in Molestation Case

Julian Hallmark, a respected and accomplished violinist, is accused of lewd acts and molestation of two young girls.

Popular Violin Coach Signs Plea Deal in Molestation Case

An accomplished violinist, who coached local children while working for a Santa Monica-based nonprofit, has pleaded no contest to criminal charges in a molestation case involving two young girls. He faces sentencing in February.

Culver City resident Julian Hallmark pleaded no contest to two felony counts of lewd acts on a child, felony attempted lewd acts on a child and a misdemeanor charge of molestation in a deal signed with prosecutors in September. 

His sentencing and probation hearing is scheduled on Feb. 13 in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Until his arrest Feb. 14, Hallmark worked for  Elemental Strings, a small, nonprofit youth orchestra based in Santa Monica. He was hired in September 2011. The alleged acts occurred between Oct. 1, 2011 and Feb. 4 of this year.

Two of the felony charges stem from an incident when he allegedly exposed himself to a 5-year-old and told her to touch his penis, according to court records. In another incident, he allegedly exposed himself again to the girl's friend.

He knew both girls, but neither were his students. Both alleged incidents occurred in his home, according court records. 

Hallmark was terminated immediately following his arrest, according to Elemental Strings Executive and Artistic Director Josephine Liu Moerschel.

A psychologist who evaluated Hallmark said he "seriously doubted" the musician was a "pedophile" and instead called the misconduct "situational and opportunistic." The doctor recommended Hallmark participate in a sex offender treatment program.

Hallmark is a Juilliard School graduate respected by many of his peers and students' parents.

Dozens of affidavits testifying to Hallmark's character were submitted to the court by his colleagues, mentors and students' parents, describing him as not only talented, but also as proper and professional.

"The Julian Hallmark I know is a gifted teacher and a good and ethical man," wrote cello instructor Margaret Edmondson. "Our students and our staff were lucky to have the opportunity to work with him and were deeply saddened when he left."

Edmondson said she would trust Hallmark "without reservations to work with students of all ages."

A staff biography on the Elemental Strings website described Hallmark as a sought-after chamber musician who traveled the globe. He was identified as a co-founder of the Concertante Chamber Players based in New York and has been concertmaster for the Aspen Valley Chamber Orchestra in Colorado for 11 years. He also performed regularly with the Crown City String Quartet in Bend, OR.

Elemental Strings was founded 2004 to inspire students and support the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s elementary school music program, according to its website.

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