Prosecutor: Union City dance instructor arrested for sexually assaulting 17-year-old students

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A Union City dance instructor was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting two 17-year-old students, Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez announced.

Estibenson Lopez. Photo courtesy of the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

On June 20th at approximately 6:15 p.m., members of the Hudson County Prosecutor’s
Office Special Victims Unit arrested Estibenson Lopez, also known as Steven Lopez, 31, of Paterson, Suarez said in a statement.

Lopez was arrested without incident at the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office in
Jersey City.

On June 18th, SVU was contacted by the Institutional Abuse Investigation Unit of the New
Jersey Department of Children and Families on a report by the Vice Principal of Union City
High School that a 17-year-old male student made an allegation of sexual contact by a dance instructor who was driving him home from school on June 17th.

An investigation by SVU revealed that Lopez is a dance instructor employed by Yenyere Dance Studio located at 3804 New York Ave. in Union City and that Yenyere Dance Studio is currently contracted by the Union City Board of Education to instruct students in dance.

However, Lopez is not an employee of Union City or of the Union City Board of Education, authorities said.

During the investigation, a second 17-year-old male student alleged that Lopez sexually
assaulted him at the studio in March 2019.

Lopez has been charged with one count of sexual assault, two counts of endangering the welfare of a child and three counts of criminal sexual contact, police said.

Following his arrest, Lopez was transported to the Hudson County Correctional Facility and made his first appearance in Criminal Justice Reform Court earlier this afternoon.

Suarez credited the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit for the
investigation and arrest and the Union City Police Department for assisting in the investigation.

As part of the ongoing investigation, detectives are asking the public to come forward with any information they may have about this case by contacting the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office SVU at (201) 915-1234 or leaving an anonymous tip on the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office official website at: http://www.hudsoncountyprosecutorsofficenj.org/homicide-tip/.

All information will be kept confidential.