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Parents outraged as Franklin dance instructor accused of statutory rape with 14-year-old

Parents outraged as Franklin dance instructor Ross McCord accused of statutory rape with 14-year-old girl (Fox 17 News)

Franklin Police said they're concerned there may be more victims after the arrest of a popular dance instructor on Thursday night.

Ross McCord was charged with multiple sex charges including aggravated statutory rape and exploitation of a minor involving a 14-year-old girl.

Renowned dance teacher Leslie Scott said student dance is a multi-billion dollar industry, but unlike other youth sports it's largely unregulated and reports of abuse are common.

DC Dance Factory was closed on Friday, but Franklin neighbors are outraged by what allegedly happened here.

“I think it’s disgusting personally, and I’m glad it’s been brought to light,” Brian Daniel said.

“It’s outrageous and disappointing when you think about a community like this where it is usually safe and there are a lot of good people here, but you never know when somebody just can’t be trusted,” Kyle Kellums said.

McCord was charged with four counts of statutory rape by an authority figure, four counts of aggravated statutory rape, solicitation, sexual exploitation of a minor, and exploitation of a minor by electronic means.

Officers started investigating McCord on October 24 after the teen girl's parents came forward with 'disturbing information' about McCord and their daughter. Police said McCord, a Brentwood resident, is being investigated in other areas for similar crimes.

Leslie Scott said she doesn’t know McCord but has been a guest at DC Dance Factory.

“This is not specific to DC Dance Factory," Scott said. "This is happening all over the world and dance and environment so I’m not surprised."

It’s why she started Youth Protection Advocates in Dance or YPAD to educate teachers and students about an industry with few regulations.

“If a dance studio does not background check it’s teachers, if the dance studio does not have protocols in place for sexual-harassment, if the dance studio does not have social media creed on how teachers are communicating with children, if the dance studio has no protocols in place; a parent needs to take their child to another dance studio,” Scott said.

Scott said predators often have no criminal history. Franklin detectives said they are concerned that he could have other victims. Anyone with information should contact Franklin Police.

Click here to access YPAD's free education and other resources on how to spot signs of trouble and protect students. The group also offers a consultant group that allows someone experience abuse or harassment to speak with a specialist.

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