Church Pianist and Private Teacher Found Guilty of Child Sex Abuse
Mischa Knight Claiborne, 24, was sentenced in Scott County Criminal Court by Judge Shayne Sexton. He was found guilty in April 2021 of several counts of child sexual abuse.
The case, which was investigated by Detective Abby Duncan of the Scott County Sheriff’s Office, found that Claiborne had abused several children between 2015 and December 2018, when an investigation was launched. He was indicted in March 2019, following an investigation that also included the Department of Children’s Services and the Children’s Center of the Cumberlands.
The 15-week investigation led to a 16-count indictment against Claiborne. The case involved three victims under the age of 18, including one under the age of 13.
In addition to providing private piano lessons from his home, Claiborne was a piano player at Black Oak Baptist Church in West Oneida. While most of the inappropriate contact between Claiborne and his underage victims took place inside his home, during the private lessons, at least one incident occurred at church. Sources told the Independent Herald at the time of his arrest that the church contacted authorities upon learning of the alleged conduct, which prompted the investigation. We are thankful to Pastor Kyle Keeton for doing the right thing and reporting the allegations to law enforcement immediately.
The alleged misconduct began between April 2015 and June 2015, according to the original indictment, and involved at least three children that year. Most of the specific charges levied against Claiborne involved allegations of inappropriate touching. However, one incidence of rape was alleged to have occurred during that same three-month timeframe. There was also an accusation of solicitation of a minor between June and August 2015, in which Claiborne allegedly solicited sex from a child younger than the age of 13.
The most serious of the charges lodged against Claiborne, continuous sex abuse of a child, a Class A felony, alleged that he “intentionally, knowingly or recklessly engage(d) in at least one incident of sexual abuse of a child upon three or more different minor children . . . on separate occasions over a period of 90 days or more in duration,” between April and December 2015.
The case was prosecuted by the office of District Attorney General Jared Effler, which was represented at trial by Assistant District Attorney Thomas E. Barclay.