Terrence Dwarika of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida was arrested for allegedly molesting one of his students, a boy younger than 12 years old. Dwarika, 38, taught music at the Trinity Christian School in Palm Beach Gardens and was a pianist for the Trinity United Methodist Church (UMC).
He is charged with one count of molesting a child younger than 12 years old and is being held without bail at Palm Beach County Jail. In bond court last Monday, a judge ordered him not to have any contact with the alleged victim, his family, or any minors. The press did not name an attorney for Dwarika.
According to the arrest report, the alleged molestation occurred on December 26, 2017 at Dwarika’s home. Dwarika allegedly asked the mother of two his male students for permission to take them Christmas shopping at a local mall. The mother gave her consent, the report said.
When the mother asked her children about their day, one of the boys reportedly told her that they went to Dwarika’s home. The mother told police that she did not give the teacher permission to take her children to his house.
The boys told their mother that they were separated at the house. One brother was left alone in the living room, and the other was taken to Dwarika’s bedroom, the report said. The brother who was in the living room reportedly went into the bedroom and saw the teacher on the bed with the other boy. The report does not make it clear if the child saw his brother kissing the teacher or if the teacher kissed him.
He told Dwarika that their mother would not be happy about what was going on, and the teacher told him that they “should keep it a secret,” the report said. The mother asked them if it had happened before, and they reportedly told her there was one other incident, but it is unclear if it was at the teacher’s home or at school.
The mother reported the incident to the police the following day. She told investigators that her children took private music lessons with Dwarika after school and that the teacher had known her boys in other capacities for several years.
When the children were questioned by police, they reportedly told them that there were several incidents at different locations. It is unclear if the teacher molested both of them. The arrest report indicated that he is being accused of molesting only one of the boys; he may be charged with additional counts if there are other alleged attacks.
Dwarika received a B.A. in piano performance with a minor in violin and flute at Palm Beach Atlantic University. It is unclear how long he has worked for the church, but he taught at Baldwin-Peck Prep School in 2005. He does not have a criminal record.
Gretchen Hastings, director of communications of the Florida Conference UMC, released the following statement:
“Terrence Dwarika, Trinity UMC’s pianist and artist in residence, was arrested Sunday for lewd and lascivious conduct and molesting a minor less than 12 years old. We will fully cooperate with the police in this investigation. Trinity UMC considers nothing more sacred than the safety, protection and care of our children. We have a comprehensive Child and Youth Protection policy in place, and we strive to adhere to those guidelines.”