A man trusted to teach dance to children is accused of having inappropriate relationships with girls as young as 13 years old and having sex with a 14-year-old, police say.
Fairfax County police said 19-year-old Chase Clark Peklo, of Sterling, Virginia, has been under investigation since Feb. 6, when the owner of Adrenaline Studio in Vienna alerted police that an alleged sexual offense happened between an instructor and a student.
According to police, Peklo inappropriately communicated with a 13-year-old and two 14-year-old girls from December 2015 to November 2016. Peklo is also accused of having a sexual relationship with one of the 14-year-old girls.
Peklo was arrested Thursday and charged with carnal knowledge of a child between 13 and 15 years old and five counts of child pornography.
Adrenaline Studio fired Peklo when the investigation started. They issued a statement.
"19-year old Chase Peklo, a student and part-time instructor at Adrenaline Studios, was arrested and is facing charges based upon an inappropriate relationship with another student at our studio and inappropriately communicating via his phone with two others. He was a dance student affiliated with Adrenaline Studios for 6 years and beginning this season, he recently served as a part-time assistant-instructor since graduating from high school last year. These allegations are a complete shock to the Adrenaline family and our hearts are breaking for the young women involved and their families.
"Based on what I was told by Fairfax County detectives, none of these activities ever occurred on our premises or at any Adrenaline sponsored events. We are confident that nothing occurred on premises because: (1) we have had cameras in place in our studios since the day we opened along with windows on every door: (2) he was never in a position to be alone with any individual student (either as a student or part-time assistant instructor; and (3) the layout of our studios and the constant presence of parents and other instructions is simply not conducive to the alleged activities taking place here.
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"On Monday, February 6, a student came forward and I (owner of Adrenaline Studios) was first informed of text messages sent by Chase Peklo to that student. I believed them to be inappropriate and, because the safety of our students comes first, I immediately contacted the mother of the student and together we contacted the Fairfax County Police. Within an hour and a half of being notified of these messages, the three of us had a meeting with a Fairfax County Police Officer. At that point, Fairfax County Police took over.
"Although I only had limited information, I called the Fairfax County Police because I wanted to ensure that this matter was investigated thoroughly. He was terminated immediately, he was interviewed by Fairfax County detectives and I served him with a no trespass notice which provided for his immediate arrest if he were to ever step foot on Adrenaline property.
"Within two days, parent meetings were held for the parents of the students in our All-Star competition program (approximately 125 students) because Chase was a member of that program and well known to the other dancers and parents. I explained to them what we knew at that time and told them he was terminated and served a no trespass notice.
"While we initially contacted police based on the text messages alone, detectives later informed us of the other charges that were filed because of information they learned during their investigation.
"Note that although he recently served as a part-time assistant-instructor here, he did not coach or teach any of the young ladies identified.
"We have a very family-like atmosphere here with parents that are incredibly involved. Our lobby is constantly filled with parents waiting for their kids to finish class so this came as a huge surprise to all of us and we are heartbroken on so many levels.
"We continue to put the safety of our students first - that is why we have tried to be as transparent as possible with the parents at our studio while going to great lengths to maintain the privacy of the young women involved and ensure that their identities remain protected.
"We will continue to cooperate with the authorities and have asked that any other students that may have been affected to please come forward."
Jennifer Koonce, Owner, Adrenaline Studios
Peklo previously taught dance at Stage Door in the 7200 block of New Market Court in Manassas, police said.
Police believe there could be more victims and asking people with more information to call (703) 246-7898 or Crime Solvers by texting “TIP187” plus your message to CRIMES(274637) or by calling 1 (866) 411-TIPS (8477), or call Fairfax County Police at (703) 691-2131.