ST. PETERSBURG — The co-founder and artistic director of the St. Petersburg Ballet Conservatory faces battery and molestation charges after city police said he had “an inappropriate sexual relationship with a 15-year-old student.”
Servy Gallardo, 52, was arrested Monday, according to the St. Petersburg Police Department. He faces charges on four counts of lewd and lascivious battery and one count of lewd and lascivious molestation, police said. He was booked into jail Monday afternoon, records show, and remained there as of about 5 p.m. Monday. Bond was not yet listed.
Gallardo, who also serves as the conservatory’s chief choreographer, founded the conservatory in 2018 along with Brian and Anna Melton, the Tampa Bay Times reported that year. It’s located at 1500 58th St. S in Gulfport.
A native of Venezuela, Gallardo was a principal dancer in the National Ballet of Venezuela and the San Jose Cleveland Ballet before working a slew of teaching jobs across the U.S. beginning in the early 2000s.
Police said detectives “are concerned that there could be additional victims” and asked for anyone with information to come forward.
The conservatory sent a statement to the Times saying it suspended Gallardo without pay and barred him from the property. The conservatory said its board of directors is cooperating with the investigation.
“To our knowledge, this behavior did not happen at the conservatory,” the board said in the statement.
“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. “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.”