Buchla Artist Charles Cohen Charged With Unlawful Contact With A Minor

charles-cohenThe Montgomery County PA District Attorney’s Office has announced the September 28, 2015 arrest of jazz musician and synthesist Charles L. Cohen, 69, of Philadelphia for Criminal Attempt of Involuntary Deviant Sexual Intercourse with a child under the age of 16, Unlawful Contact with a Minor and Criminal Use of a Communication Facility.

Cohen was arrested as part of a sting operation targeting Internet sexual predators.

Here is the background on the charges, from the DA Office:

In September 2015,Detective Sergeant Raymond Bechtel III became involved in an undercover, electronic communication exchange with defendant Charles Cohen. It was apparent Cohen’s intent was to sexually assault a child.

On Monday, September 28, 2015, the ongoing undercover communications resulted in Cohen requesting to meet with whom he thought to be a 14 year old boy. Cohen’s proposed purpose for this meeting was for him to perform oral sex on the boy and vice versa.

On Monday, September 28, 2015 at 12:29 PM, Cohen was observed at the agreed upon meet location, 600 Commerce Drive, Upper Providence Township, Montgomery County. He was met by law enforcement and arrested.

Cohen was charged with the three crimes listed above and arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Katherine McGill. Bail was set at $100,000 cash. He was remanded to the Montgomery County Correctional Facility pending. His preliminary hearing is scheduled on October 13, 2015 at 11:00 AM before Magisterial District Judge Walter Gadzicki.

Cohen is an expert with the Buchla Music Easel and has been working with it since the mid 1970’s.

This video, from 2008, captures Charles Cohen performing with the Buchla Music Easel:

The DA Office notes that “CRIMINAL CHARGES, AND ANY DISCUSSION THEREOF, ARE MERELY ALLEGATIONS AND ALL DEFENDANTS ARE PRESUMED INNOCENT UNTIL AND UNLESS PROVEN GUILTY.”

102 thoughts on “Buchla Artist Charles Cohen Charged With Unlawful Contact With A Minor

      1. Everyone has a right to privacy and a fair trial and is innocent until proven guilty etc., except in some of those regimes that most people who get all worked up about this kind of knews usually strongly disagree with.

        1. ‘those regimes’?

          Your right to privacy does not mean that you have a right to sweep unflattering public information about your criminal accusations under the carpet.

    1. You know that saying about those who point the finger are always pointing three back at themselves.

      I am interested in synths and drum machines, not pedophiles – regardless of whether said pedophile is a synthesist or not, the one has absolutely NOTHING to do with the other. I resent the association. We have this kind of crap shoved in our faces every day by other media reporting sites that’s not what I come here for.

      Up to Synthhead what he posts here of course, it’s his website, but I think it’s nasty and my advice is to leave it to the journalistic scum who jerk off at the increased sales of their rag on this kind of thing, unless of course you actually wish to be associated with them Synthhead? In which case, you go right ahead and leave this here.

      1. Just to make what is actually happening here very clear, my comments are all moderated because I was upset to see inappropriate ads basically selling sex on Synthtopia. I was accused of only seeing these ads because I was looking at porn. So I checked on my little nieces iPad and well, guess what, same ads! It’s reprehensible!

        I’ll leave it to you to work out what the publication of my above comment actually means!

        I am not returning to this thread, I returned this time simply to see if my comment had been published. I am seriously considering not returning to Synthtopia at all.

        One of the things i love so much about this community is all the damn decent people.

        I feel it slipping away here! This is very disappointing!

        1. Your comments just come across as very crass.

          I understand that you disagree with the decision to cover this news, but when you suggest that the author ‘journalistic scum’ that ‘jerks off to this kind of thing, you’re not contributing anything intelligent to the conversation.

  1. Yeah, I have to say this could, first of all, this could have waited until he was convicted, _if_ he gets convicted. Another thing is that if he is innocent, just allegations of phedophilia (which this actually is not, but hebephilia) can ruin peoples life even if they gets proven innocent.

    So I say, remove this, Synthead.

    1. Actually the information is exposed to the Internet by the Attorney’s Office on its Facebook page.

      Actually I do not know the laws for that county, and I am not a big fan of Facebook, but it seems they presented it on purpose.
      Address them first if you think it is somehow not in accordance with law or human rights.

  2. I don’t see what the issue is with Synthead posting this. Synthhead in no way accuses, nor implies that
    Charles Cohen is guilty of anything.

  3. I assume I’m not the only one who read the headline and assumed it was a song title pun like “Fugue in A-minor”. Sadly, not the case.

  4. I have to agree that this doesn’t seem to have anything to do with electronic music and Synthtopia doesn’t seem to be the place for this sort of news. Artists are human and are subject to all features and failures of the human condition. That shouldn’t be news to anyone.

  5. When I read the title I thought that it was a joke like “Unlawful Contact with A-” kind of joke!
    Well, the key of ” A minor ” is more related to Synthtopia than “A sexually-abused minor”…………………..

  6. NOT ok to post here! Especially because these are only allegations at this point in time. I look at Synthtopia every day, but not for content such as this. Please pull this article!

  7. Wow. This is SO unprofessional for a site promoting synthesizers to publicize the sting operation and arrest of a musician for something unrelated to music. Note that the arresting officer posted his prize on Facebook! Incredibly distasteful story to read, and very poor judgement by synthhead. People complain often that this website is a trash can for press releases. However, it is clear that no trash is beneath you. I have no more time to waste with your site.

  8. I disagree with this being posted here. I see this stuff all the time in the local news and TV. I come to this website to get news on music and gear. For entertainment and not sting operations busting pedophiles.

  9. Thank you, Synthtopia for covering this and for doing so in a sensitive way.

    Whether or not Cohen can be convicted, his actions are ones that people should be aware of.

    You’ve got a sworn officer of the law, with a paper trail, that says Cohen was trying to solicit sex from a minor. Cohen is someone that children should be protected from.

    Yeah, it’s depressing news, but there are definitely people in the electronic music community that would want to be aware of this before they gave this guy a gig.

    1. You’re giving an awful lot of credit to “a sworn officer of the law” as though that somehow elevates his integrity above the common man, when in fact, we’ve seen time and time again that the opposite is often the case. Either way, synthopia is no place to republish accusations against musicians, especially before anything has been proven.

      1. First of all, it’s not an “accusation”, everyone understands that until the court actually happens, he’s technically “not guilty”, but this was a result of a sting operation, do you actually understand what it means? It means he got caught red-handed, it wasn’t someone’s call to police saying that he might have had sexual relations with a minor. He solicited sexual intercourse with a 14 year old boy on the internet, do you think that he did it by mistake, trying to order some new Buchla modules?

  10. The terminology for some of this stuff borders on the absurd. That a slight-framed senior citizen could “sexually assault” a 14 year old paints a picture out-of-sync with reality. Funny how police departments always complain about being so underfunded, yet they run these sort of sting operations solely to prevent rather unlikely sexual encounters of their own fabrication. Mewonders if the euphemisms are just a way to justify draining the public coffers locking up a bunch of harmless buffoons.

  11. Very inappropriate syntopia. even if this person is guilty this is not what this site is about last time I checked. i don’t come on this site to get political, social, religious or any other information other than electronic music. I don’t care what electronic musicians eat, what kind of clothes they wear or cars they drive. I don’t care simply because it has nothing to do with electronic music and I thought that this is what this site was all about. If you are changing your agenda I feel you will loose some of your audience, me being one!

    1. Sure. But are you watching the Cosby show now-a-days? Doesn’t that lovely show seem different if you consider that Dr. Huxtable is a serial date-rapist? I think the idea you don’t care what they eat is not the same thing as saying you don’t care if they molest children. Does it affect the music directly? Well, if you believe the music expresses something about the artist, something possibly like his preference for little-boy blow jobs, then yes. I don’t know if you like Beethoven, but if you believe his deafness affected his music or, if you like rap music and you believe that cultural identity influenced NWA, then how could an event like this not be pertinent to this man’s music? It at least affects your perception hearing it, like people who complain about “hearing” Yoko Ono in the studio when they listen to the White Album. Furthermore, I don’t know if you have children, but let’s not conflate a 70-year old man requisitioning a teenager for a blow job with eating or driving a car. That’s just screwy.

    2. “I don’t care what electronic musicians eat, what kind of clothes they wear or cars they drive. I don’t care simply because it has nothing to do with electronic music.”

      Do you care what crimes they commit? Or is everything okay so long as the music is good?

      1. Fyi I have 10 children and I work in a prison. I have strong thoughts on what criminals do. I also have strong feelings and thoughts on religion, health, gun control, politics, ect. All I am saying is I don’t think this is the place for those discussions. If I want to read up on Chemtrails or fluoride poisoning I will go some where else. Also I never said that if his music was good everything else he does is okay. Don’t put words in my mouth. My point was and still is I do not think that subject is appropriate on this site. This is not my site and Synthead can post whatever he chooses, but the majority of the post on this subject is ” not here please “

  12. This has nothing to do with synthesizer news, and has no place on this website. I appreciate that synthtopia is a website that does a decent job at collecting all of the cool synth gear releases and announcements in one place, and that websites like this are few and far in between. That said, I would doubly appreciate it if I never saw another article like this posted here again.

    This is unnecessary “shock-value” buzz news, all too common on many websites I avoid. Please consider keeping this website focused on synthesizer products and music.

  13. There is no difference between posting a video of Jean-Michel Jarre and this. This is news — if Cohen released an article or an interview it would be relevant even if that interview wasn’t specifically about Buchla. Why? Because he’s synth-important. So if he’s arrested for this type of behavior, it’s public information for one thing; second, I wouldn’t hear about it otherwise; and third, it changes the music and how you interact with it. So I believe this post is on-topic, appropriate, and even useful. Since this site represents the world of electronic music, it would be wrong to ignore an event such as this following so closely the release of Cohen’s new album. I welcome the news as much as I am saddened and disturbed by it.

  14. Why has this been posted? Probably like all media just to get attention and ad revenue. This is a non story. Shame on synthtopia for stooping so low

    1. I mean, he’s not a super-star; he’s hardly a millionaire. I don’t think anyone reaps benefits from a thing like this. Furthermore, would this be a non-story if it were Robert Moog or Don Buchla? Also, how can you not think this is at all effective to your experience of his music? It’s not going to be in your head next time you play his new album, “Hey, he likes to blow little children”? That’s not an important fact when sensitively considering his artistic material and personal expression?

  15. As a father this sickens me. But, as a reader of Synthtopia it saddens me and angers me that i had to read this on a website dedicated to showing me the wonders of music. You americans and your ludicrous sense of moral. Who the hell gave you the mandate to start spreading your stigmatizing, political agenda? Even if he gets convicted, which he is not as of yet, this is not the place to post it. What if the charges clear? Use what ever is left of your common sense and figure out how this will affect this man’s life. And if you post something like this again i know where your moral stands, and that sickens me much in the same way.

    1. “your stigmatizing, political agenda?”

      In this case it is just the law, as it stands regardless of whether you agree with it and I doubt whether most people would disagree with it, as this law was written to protect minors. I don’t think it is fair to call this a ‘political agenda’.

      1. I understand what you are saying. But look at it this way. Once one start to spread allegations, and in this case the most stigmatizing of them all, one should be damn clear on what one are putting in motion. As it happens, Cohen might or might not be guilty – we do not know – i as a person reacts to this with disgust, but im also able to see this from a higher ethical stance: If i, as a teacher where to proclaim my religious and/or political view to my students i would be charged and most likely sentenced for misconduct of my duties. In this case, Synthtopia’s admins is missusing it plattform, one built apon trust in a site that deliveres quality news that concerns my professional job: musician and teacher. No matter what the case against Cohen might bring (if he is guilty, may he burn in the darkest of hells), it is ethically and morally questionable to use this site to push this information. Ergo: the way this was put forth by Synthtopia has, inadvertently or not, has a sour smell of pushing ones personal agenda to put forth a political statement: dont buy this mans products. That is not right.

  16. Reading the comments here I’m disappointed that so few people care about what artists do other than make music. I’d be interested to see where they draw the line. I guess most people here just want sanitized entertainment news unblemished by any hint of real life.

    1. It seems you prefer gossip and non-music related news. Yes, people who come here do so for music hardware and music creation news… I know that’s bizarre right? You’re welcome to go look at CNN or TMZ to find out what artists do beyond music… The majority of posts on this “A minor” bad taste joke heading are united in their view that this article should not be here. You can continue in your belief that almost everyone here is wrong and perhaps you can campaign for more non-music related artist news (gossip).

  17. totally innocent until proven guilty.
    only in america.

    I can understand these hipster tabloid click bait (now jail bait story) hungry sites might go for this sensational shit but you goes. oh damn. HE’S NOT BEEN CHARGED! IT WAS A STING. THESE PEOPLE WANT RESULTS FOR THEIR WORK…so.

    makes me sick. this weekend the music press are abiding in ruining a potentially innocent man’s life. last week he was your new hero.

    i hate this world as much as i now hate your site so don’t take it too personal.

        1. That’s correct and something entirely different. Here I was pointing out that when the poster said that he had not been charged. But he is wrong, he has been charged.

  18. ??? we don’t care !! i am not here to read about legal or ilegal things about private life of anybody.
    i want to read about music and technology, please.
    i am so disapointed to find something like that on synthopia…

  19. From the “About Synthopia” page : “Our electronic music articles cover controversies in the electronica world”

    It might be controversial, but how is this article music related?

      1. how many musicians are fighting in wars right now? how many are racist? how many are prejudiced towards whatever? i do not know. i do not want to know. this site is about music. or should be.

        1. Cohen has been one of the leading synthesists using the Buchla for four decades.

          It’s unfortunate news, but this is absolutely relevant information for some readers of this site.

          Would you want to do a project with Cohen or hire him for an all-ages gig and then find this information out?

  20. why would synthtopia even post this. lame reason to kick up controversy
    if everyone is concerned about privacy don’t post this shit on a website.

    1. Because it is related to music, and in particular to synthesizer culture. Did you wonder why Synthopia is writing about death of Edgar Froese, legendary founder of Tangerine Dream when it happened in January? It’s not news about technology, and no one wanted to start a controversy, it’s just news about synthesizer scene in general. What is so hard to understand?

      1. So, is this becoming Huffington Synth? I mean, are we going to start reading about all the criminal convictions, DUI arrests, spouse abuse, etc perpetrated by people from the audio community? Ridiculous.

  21. This site is also concerned with a musician’s triumph and failures. As artists we must also see our social responsibility to do no harm. We are only human and Cohen like Cosby artist news to their concerned industry. I think it’s a good decision to post a complete picture otherwise we would only be living in a fantasy world.

    1. Who even knew this guy before his salacious criminal charges and mugshot were featured on Synthtopia? It does not rise to the standards of gear news.

      It is, however, great click bait for driving page views. Controversy, comment section refreshing, stone-throwing, a debate about newsworthiness, the perfect storm.

  22. A pure pageview-driven editorial decision. I didn’t know this guy existed until this Gawker-style true crime report. Obscure obits are barely relevant on a gear site, this is just lowest common denominator try crime story aggregation with only the thinnest connection to the site’s mission.

    Congratulations to the readers for overwhelmingly rejecting this article. Not wanting it here does not equal support of this guy or what he’s accused of, either – as anyone with an ounce of logic understands.

    Between this and the recent pay-for-play style advertorial, I’m all done with Synthtopia.

    I’ll show myself out.

    1. Admin: Comment deleted – do not use multiple accounts (petrantus, petrius, Angelus, so_long, visitor99, etc) to spam the site.

  23. In my opinion, these sorts of sting operations where there is no child at all involved and no sex acts ever even took place are some real fascist BS from a crazed tyrannical state.

    Fact: There was no child involved at any time.

    Fact: He was not soliciting children. He put an ad on craigslist seeking a male companion.

    If there was actual child abuse involved it would be one thing, but there wasn’t. This whole thing is a thought crime.

    Even if he did exactly what he is charged with – went to meet someone that was an adult detective who was trolling him on line, it’s no real crime. Yeah, it’s criminal, but so is smoking pot and speeding and a bunch of other things.

    Totally crazy to be down on this guy even if he is 100% guilty because there was no victim here. The only predator was that detective.

    I also agree with the general consensus posting this stuff here is pretty tacky, but as it turns out I hadn’t heard this guy’s music before and it’s actually pretty good, so there’s that.

    1. yeah, the cop was definitely the predator. Charles rejected his advances when he said he was underage, yet the guy pursued. really unbelievable; he’ll be hailed as a hero when he is just another beast burning down a whole house for chump change.

  24. If you’re upset with this being posted don’t bothering posting when a synth player dies and when they report on it here. This is every bit relevant to this site.

  25. i thought this site was about music. i do not want to read stuff like this here.

    i do not care whether pederasts make music or not. this site should not be their place.

    please keep this site an electronic music site ONLY. thank you.

  26. All these stupid comments and claims of ‘click bait’ are ridiculous. Fox News!?! Give me a break. I’m a fan of Cohen’s music so this news is very depressing. What a let down. But I think it’s important to always call this kind of bullshit out. It’s horrible and needs to be policed and shamed. Cohen was the initiator and took the risk. He was caught in a sting and deserves the attention. And it is immediately relevant here and on other music sites. Indeed, nowhere else will it be ‘news’. I think Synthtopia is doing the right thing by including the world around the gear reviews — and as if this site only ever just reports on gear without also including something of the cultural context around it. We’re part of a community here. If you would rather have a vapid, lifeless press release aggregator, make it yourself. Keep up the good work, Synthhead.

  27. Synthead.
    do you have anything to say about this?
    the majority of us are here because we are scientists first.
    as scientists we are here to seek knowledge with the understanding that what we thought was real yesterday may prove to be incorrect today.
    right or wrong, this is a terrible slant on your site, and, after years of positive engagement and finding a wide-spread community to share everything from original music to hard to find synths……
    this is a bad fart in an elevator.
    show us that you’re real.

  28. It’s sad that so many are more worried about protecting Cohen’s privacy than they are about protecting children from predators.

    That’s how you get situations like the American Catholic Church having a dark history of child molestation.

    This guy didn’t run a traffic light – he solicited sex from a minor.

        1. “Nothing happened. where is the crime???”

          ^^^ That’s like saying a murderer shouldn’t be convicted because he got caught on the way to murdering you but didn’t actually get to murder you. Very naive.

          1. as I see it 2 adults were talking in a chatroom, he agreed to meet somewhere.
            he went to that place,
            so I ask you again where is the crime? nothing happened. didn’t do anything.

              1. Maybe, maybe not.
                It’s the internet I could be your neighbors cat you are talking to.
                maybe they just got the wrong guy in their pervert trap?

            1. Reminds me of a case in the UK of a guy that brought ricin online, but he didn’t buy ricin, as nobody sells ricin online. So he brought a harmless substance from a government law agency, and that somehow is a crime – I don’t get it. What happens if I do the same, and I setup a site selling fake ricin, people buy it and in return I send them a harmless substance – is that a crime or law enforcement? I would suggest that an adult pretending to be a 14 year old giving out blowjobs is just as damaging to society as a predator that acts on that false information. It is essentially the online promotion and acceptance of said activity, and when a child becomes a victim in future they have played a major part in normalizing such activities online – I know they are trying do good but they haven’t.

  29. This article is just as relevant as the article they posted when Mark Bell passed away. It can’t all be sunshine and rainbows boys and girls. Besides, this article is more interesting than any post about another new ‘noise maker module’.

    Look, right now transgender-ism is all you see in the media – pushing for awareness on the transgender issue. I could give a damn about a guy who were’s skirts, but hunting down pedophiles is something I could certainly get onboard with. What if media outlets were brave enough to bring about awareness of the GIGANTIC underworld of sex slavery and child abuse? Well, they don’t talk about it because people react to this information exactly as you see them reacting to it on this message board – repulsed, they reject and attack the bearer of such news.

  30. Thank you very much for this news. How people can excuse a bastard like this ? Truth has to be told, think about victims (the real ones, not Cohen) and shut your mouths you pathetic commenters here. This news has of course been published in many electronic music related websites, and it’s normal, what a shock !
    http://www.factmag.com/2015/10/09/synth-veteran-charles-cohen-charged-in-child-sex-case/
    http://www.residentadvisor.net/news.aspx?id=31722
    http://www.nme.com/news/various-artists/88923
    etc…

  31. Entrapment by police is unethical and wrong. This case needs to be thrown out and the ‘entrapment’ officer, arrested. Entrapment is always wrong.

    1. 70-year old guys preying on underage teens is always unethical and wrong.

      This sort of policing means that we can get some pederasts off the street, before they victimize a kid, instead of after.

  32. If you’re going to post stuff like this on synthtopia make sure you also post an article about some of the intense sexism in the ad choices and comments that are often found here. I think that would be a great article. Title it “Racism not ok but Sexism we’re totally down with”.

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