Renton minister and teacher charged with rape, molestation

Seattle Post-Intelligencer/February 10, 2011

A Renton minister and music teacher accused of having sex with a teenage student has been charged with rape and child molestation.

Previously convicted of rape after having sex with a 12-year-old girl, Royce C. Shorter stands accused of forcing himself on a 15-year-old piano student.

According to charging documents, Shorter, 53, operates his own music studio -- 'N Time Music Productions -- and his own Christian ministry, Royce Clinton Shorter Ministries.

Speaking with detectives, the girl Shorter is alleged to have raped said Shorter started hitting on her during their lessons, then began kissing and groping her.

The girl said Shorter coerced her into having sex at least five times, beginning when she was 15, Seattle Police Detective Leslie Smith told the court.

"Shorter told her that if she loved him she 'wouldn't tell anybody,'" the detective told the court. "He told her that the last person he did it to told and he had to go to jail."

Shorter told the girl he would deny her allegations if she went to police, Smith added.

Smith noted that on several occasions the girl told Shorter she did not want to have sex or attempted to fight him off. Each time, the detective said, Shorter overcame the girl's defenses.

At the time of the alleged offenses, Shorter's studio was located in South Seattle. He later moved the business to Renton; he currently resides in Tacoma, according to court records.

Senior Deputy Prosecutor Carol Spoor noted that Shorter was convicted of statutory rape in 1985 after he was caught having sex with a 12-year-old girl he met through a choir group. Spoor also told the court Shorter was charged and acquitted of having molested a 15-year-old girl in 1993.

On Feb. 3, Shorter was charged with two counts of third-degree rape and one count of third-degree child molestation. He has not been jailed, though a $25,000 arrest warrant has been issued.

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