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 Defendant Christopher David Keen attends his sentencing at the Oakland County Circuit Court Jan. 8. A jury found him guilty of four counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Defendant Christopher David Keen attends his sentencing at the Oakland County Circuit Court Jan. 8. A jury found him guilty of four counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Former studio owner sentenced to long prison term for sexually abusing minor

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published January 9, 2020

 Defendant Christopher David Keen enters the courtroom of Oakland County Circuit Court Judge James M. Alexander Jan. 8. Alexander sentenced Keen to up to 60 years in prison.

Defendant Christopher David Keen enters the courtroom of Oakland County Circuit Court Judge James M. Alexander Jan. 8. Alexander sentenced Keen to up to 60 years in prison.

Photo by Deb Jacques

 Oakland County Circuit Court Judge James M. Alexander sentences defendant Christopher David Keen on multiple charges of criminal sexual conduct Jan. 8.

Oakland County Circuit Court Judge James M. Alexander sentences defendant Christopher David Keen on multiple charges of criminal sexual conduct Jan. 8.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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CLAWSON — On Jan. 8, Oakland County Circuit Court Judge James M. Alexander sentenced Christopher David Keen, the former owner of Kaleidoscope Studio for the Performing Arts in Clawson, to up to 60 years in prison.

After a five-day trial, a jury found Keen, 60, guilty of four counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct in relation to a single victim, who was 15 at the time of the initial assaults in 2013, over a period of approximately three years.

For the first four counts, Alexander sentenced Keen to 225 months, or 18.75 years, to 60 years. For the fifth count, Alexander sentenced Keen to seven and a half years to 15 years. The terms will run concurrently.

The bottom of the sentencing guidelines was 135 months to 225 months, but the recommendation was 15 years to 50 years on all five counts.

Keen received credit for the 50 days he has been lodged in the Oakland County Jail since his conviction. Prior to that, he was free after posting 25% of his bond, or $62,500, which 52-4 District Court Magistrate Donald Chisholm had set at $250,000 cash or surety, 10%.

The studio closed shortly after Keen was arraigned on Jan. 24, 2019. A native of Australia, Keen surrendered his passport shortly after being arraigned.

Alexander said the case was of one of the most “despicable” he has ever seen and what bothered him even more was Keen’s “complete and utter lack of remorse.” He said he would deny parole if he could, but that decision was not up to him.

“I just don’t get it,” Alexander said. “Even after a guilty jury conviction, you said you’re innocent. You’re not. … Given your age, this is effectively a life sentence.”

He mandated that Keen comply with DNA and HIV testing; register as a sex offender; and, if ever released from prison, wear a lifetime GPS tether and have no contact with any of his victims.

Keen declined to comment when Alexander gave him the opportunity and showed nearly no emotion as he was escorted in and out of the courtroom by an officer of the court.

Alexander said Keen destroyed the lives of multiple children and referenced a prior incident in 1992, in which Keen was charged with two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct and four counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, but was allowed to plead to six counts of assault and battery.

At the time, Keen was an instructor with Birmingham Public Schools, and the charges resulted after he had assaulted two of his students. Assault and battery is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail. Keen spent 30 days in jail.

Oakland County Chief Prosecutor Paul Walton said that new laws enacted since 1992 mandate that all reductions include necessary compliance. The Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office is required to notify crime victims and the officer in charge of a case to make sure that all concerned are heard, and all reductions must be documented.

Prosecutor Sarah Greene petitioned Alexander to exceed the sentencing guidelines. First-degree criminal sexual conduct is a felony punishable by up to life in prison. Second-degree criminal sexual conduct is a 15-year felony.

She said Keen was given a second chance after assaulting the two young men 30 years ago and described his continued misconduct as “evil.” She said that Keen used his authority to manipulate the victim in the case, vilified the victim’s best friend, and drew close with the victim’s family in order to exercise more power over him.

She read an impact statement to the court, penned by the victim, now 22 years old. In the statement, he said Keen sexually abused him on a couch at Keen’s Birmingham home while Keen’s wife and daughter were home, as well as on the floor of the studio after class.

The victim said the pain from the trauma did not stop when the abuse stopped and that he has struggled to overcome feelings of guilt, helplessness, fear and mistrust. He requested that Alexander impose the maximum sentence to ensure that Keen would have no more victims and to punish him for his crimes.

Clawson police reportedly identified at least two other possible victims of Keen who were between the ages of 13 and 16 at the time of the alleged assaults.

Scott Kwasny, of Bloomfield Hills, was one of Keen’s two victims in 1992 and also testified as a witness for the prosecution during the jury trial in November. He said he was grateful that justice took place. He shared with C & G Newspapers a copy of a letter he wrote to the judge pertaining to Keen’s sentencing.

In the letter, he said Keen was his choir teacher, theater music director and private vocal coach who “sexually, emotionally, and mentally abused him.” The abuse he suffered as a 16- and 17-year-old at Birmingham Groves High School led to self-medication, co-dependency and difficulty having relationships, he said, and he also “developed a deep aversion to anyone with an Australian accent.”

He worked through his trauma and is now a husband and father with a successful career, although the recent events impacted him, he said. 

“The opportunity to testify in the current case felt like a second chance to right an injustice,” Kwasny wrote. “Observing his affectations and enduring his smugness and slanders amplified and reactivated memories of even more subtle, insidious patterns of abuse I had endured and hidden away from myself.”

He told C & G Newspapers that it gave him no joy seeing someone sentenced to life in prison and that he wished Keen peace, as a human being.

Steven Schwartz, Keen’s defense attorney, requested that Alexander sentence Keen within the guidelines, toward the middle.

“Nobody won here. This is a really sad case for everyone,” Schwartz told C & G Newspapers. “At this point, we’re going to be ordering the trial transcript and then we’ll be evaluating whether or not we’ll be filing an appeal to a higher court.”

More than a dozen of Keen’s former students and their families attended the sentencing. They expressed support for the victim and a sense of relief that Keen received a long prison sentence.

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