Police suspect additional victims after dance instructor arrested for sexual assault of a minor

Jesse Lee Santos, 45, of North Las Vegas, Nevada. [Image credit: North Las Vegas Police Department]

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According to an arrest report obtained by the Las Vegas Review Journal, 45-year-old dancer Jesse Santos "Has worked with several well-known artists, including Britney Spears, Mandy Moore, Pink, Madonna, and Jessica Simpson, and has performed on multiple award shows."  The report went on to say that Santos "groomed aspiring dancers both at the high school and outside of school through his company JLS Entertainment.”

 

An individual came into the North Las Vegas Police Department and identified himself as one of Santos' former high school students.  He stated that Santos' was his dance instructor between 2015 and 2017 when he was 15-17 years old and that he had been repeatedly sexually assaulted.

 

The former student, whose name has not been released, stated that he did not come forward sooner as Santos had threatened to "blacklist him from dancing again, thus ruining his dream."  He is reported to have additionally told officers that "he did not want to tell his mother or anybody else what was happening because she had invested a lot of time and money, and because it was embarrassing."

 

According to statements made by the former student, he would stay over at Santos' house the night before out of state competitions in order to carpool to the airport for early morning flights.  On those nights he reported that 10-15 times, between the ages of 15 and 17, he was sexually assaulted by Santos.

 

“He stated Jesse told him those acts would cease if he spent the night with him in his bed, which he did, but the unwanted sexual acts did not stop,” the report said according to the Review Journal. “Despite these acts being unwanted, (the student) continued to spend the night at Jesse’s residence.”

 

The former student also alleged that he had been assaulted five or six times in hotel rooms during dance competitions out of state in states including Kentucky, Florida, Maryland, Georgia and California.  Police have not ruled out the possibility that there could be additional victims in those states as well.

 

North Las Vegas Police showed up at Santos' residence on Wednesday morning and he was taken into custody without incident. He has denied the allegations against him.

 

Santos is being held in the North Las Vegas Community Correctional Center on 17 charges. The charges against him are 5 counts of sexual assault, 5 counts of lewdness with a child under the age of 14, intentional transmission of HIV, 5 counts of sexual conduct between a school employee and a student under 16, and child abuse or neglect.

 

He is scheduled to appear in court Monday.

 

Police are encouraging anyone with information on this case to contact them at (702) 633-1773.  North Las Vegas Police Detective Jorge Correa can be reached at: correaj@cityofnorthlasvegas.com. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at (702) 385-5555 or crimestoppersofnv.com.

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