St. Petersburg Ballet Conservatory co-founder and artistic director Servy Gallardo has pleaded guilty to sexual battery and molestation charges and was sentenced to 20 years in prison, according to the Pinellas County Clerk of Court’s office.
Gallardo, 52, was arrested in May after police say he had “an inappropriate sexual relationship with a 15-year-old student.”
Gallardo pleaded guilty Monday to three counts of sexual battery with familial or custodial authority involving a minor who is 12 years or older. He also pleaded guilty to one count of lewd or lascivious molestation. In addition to his prison sentence, the court ordered Gallardo to pay $1,510 in fines, and he will be designated as a sexual predator, according to the clerk’s office.
Gallardo founded the conservatory in 2018 with Brian and Anna Melton. The conservatory is located at 1500 58th St. S in Gulfport.
Before founding the conservatory, Gallardo, who is originally from Venezuela, was a principal dancer at the National Ballet of Venezuela and the San Jose Cleveland Ballet. Following his time with those companies, he held several teaching jobs in the United States, beginning in the early 2000s.
Following Gallardo’s arrest, investigators said they were “concerned that there could be additional victims,” and they asked that anyone with information speak to authorities. The conservatory’s board of directors told the Times after Gallardo’s arrest that they were cooperating with the investigation and had suspended Gallardo without pay — banning him from the property. Board members also said that to their knowledge, the crimes did not occur on the conservatory’s premises.
“As the board of directors, we are deeply saddened at learning of these allegations, and we emphatically believe that allegations of this nature are and should be dealt with immediately,” the board said in a statement at the time. “We take protecting children and teens seriously, and we have strived to establish policies, procedures, and protocols to keep young people safe. We were blindsided and heartbroken by these allegations.”