Renowned Musician Charles Cohen Must Register as a Sex Offender
Sixteen months after he was arrested in an undercover child sex sting in the Philadelphia suburbs, 71-year-old electronic music pioneer Charles Cohen has learned his fate.
On Friday, Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Gail Weilheimer sentenced Cohen to six to 23 months in Montgomery County Correctional Facility plus two years of probation upon his release.
Cohen, a Rittenhouse Square resident, has also been ordered to have no unsupervised contact with minors and to register as a sex offender on Pennsylvania’s Megan’s Law Registry. He is to report to jail on March 3rd.
Last August, Cohen pleaded no contest to charges of unlawful contact with a minor, criminal use of a communication facility, and criminal attempted involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with person under the age of 16, all felonies.
“Due to my client’s health struggles and current ambulatory issues, we decided that fighting these charges would be too stressful for him to endure,” Scott Harper, Cohen’s attorney, told us at the time. “We have maintained all along that we have a strong entrapment defense to the charges.”
Cohen had been arrested in October 2015 in an undercover sting operation. Prosecutors said that he placed a personal ad on Craigslist searching for a “skinny smooth versatile white guy,” and a detective responded, posing as a 14-year-old boy. Cohen asked to meet for oral sex, and a rendezvous was set. When Cohen turned up at the meeting location — a suburban parking lot in a complex containing an Olive Garden, Starbucks, and Wegmans — police arrested him.
Cohen is famous in free jazz and avant garde music circles thanks to his rare mastery of the Buchla Music Easel, an unusual vintage synthesizer. In 2011, he was awarded the prestigious Pew Fellowship.
Though he had maintained a relatively low profile on the Philadelphia music scene, Cohen was popular overseas. In fact, he was scheduled to embark on a European tour just days after his arrest. He hasn’t given any public performances since.
Reached on his cell phone on Monday afternoon, Cohen said that he had no comment.
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