NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – A state appeals court has upheld the child rape conviction of a former acting coach and arts center director from Hampshire County. On Wednesday, the court unanimously rejected the appeal by lawyers for David Fried Oppenheim, who was sentenced to five to seven years in prison when he was convicted back in 2012.
Prosecutors said that Fried Oppenheim, who was the executive director of the Pioneer Arts Center of Easthampton (PACE), repeatedly raped the 14 year-old victim; becoming intimate with the aspiring actress under the guise that he was teaching her a technique he created known as “primitives.” He allegedly told the girl not to tell about their liaisons, because “society doesn’t understand what I’m doing here.”
In their ruling, the court rejected the defense’s argument that Judge Mary Lou Rup improperly instructed the jury with respect to a confession Fried Oppenheim made to another student through an instant message. They also rejected the argument that Rup systematically excluded full-time college students from the jury. Though 19 students were excused during jury selection, one of the jurors chosen for the case was indeed a full-time student.