An Omaha violin teacher accused of digitally penetrating a student said during a recent phone call monitored by police that he had the girl sit on his lap during lessons, officials said.
Michael B. Godfrey, 77, faces charges of first-degree and third-degree sexual assault of a child. If convicted of both, he faces a minimum of 20 years in prison.
In court Tuesday, Douglas County Judge Darryl Lowe asked Godfrey whether he understood the charges against him.
“I understand it’s very serious, sir,” Godfrey responded.
“Common sense would tell you it’s serious,” Lowe said. “You’re 77 years old.”
Lowe ordered Godfrey held on $50,000 bail, meaning Godfrey would have to post $5,000 to be released. Godfrey’s attorney, Clarence Mock, had told Lowe that Godfrey could afford that and by Tuesday evening, he was no longer at the Douglas County Jail.
Godfrey is accused of digitally penetrating the girl and touching other body parts several times about four to six years ago at his home near 52nd and Izard Streets.
After Tuesday’s hearing, Mock said Godfrey denies the allegation and said the girl is “conjuring” the alleged assaults.
“The victim’s credibility will be an issue, as the accusations are historical in nature,” Mock said.
The girl, now 14, was about 8 to 10 years old at the time of the alleged assaults, prosecutor Anthony Clowe said. Her father reported to Omaha police in November that his daughter had said she was assaulted by Godfrey. The family now lives in another state.
In a police interview, the girl said Godfrey would have her sit on his lap, then he would put his hand down her pants and digitally penetrate her vagina and touch her belly button and hips. He would tell her, “I don’t do this with any of my other students,” according to a court document.
When the girl reached eighth grade, she told police, she used a classmate’s cellphone to call Godfrey and confront him. She told officers that Godfrey blamed the abuse on her, and she became angry and hung up.
Omaha police listened in on and recorded a recent phone call between the girl and Godfrey and were able to “confirm and corroborate that Godfrey gave this victim violin lessons and had her sit on his lap and treated her different than others,” according to an affidavit.
Authorities met with Godfrey on July 4 and asked to talk to him about the investigation. Godfrey told police that his lawyer told him not to talk. Officers then took Godfrey into custody on the child sex assault charges.
Godfrey has continued to teach children, but Lowe has ordered that to stop if he posts bail. Godfrey was ordered to have no contact with any minor who isn’t a family member.
1 of 46
A former convict was charged with using a drone to attempt to drop marijuana into the Lincoln Correctional Center yard. Read more
A man walking home from work along the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge used a pocket knife to fight off two attackers, sending both to the hospital. Read more
An Omahan was scammed out of $4,800 after trying to buy College World Series tickets. Read more
The Montana man known as the “AK-47 Bandit” who robbed several banks in at least five states, including Nebraska, was sentenced to 35 years in federal prison. Read more
A mall security guard was arrested on suspicion of making terroristic threats after threatening to shoot at suspected shoplifters fleeing in a vehicle. Read more
Travis Fieldgrove, who had sex with a woman who was both his wife and his daughter, was sentenced to two years in prison. Read more
A 28-year-old Omaha man was accused of spanking a 2-year-old girl so hard that she suffered multiple internal injuries. Read more
A man walking in Lincoln was struck in the genitals by a bullet after he dropped a .22-caliber handgun and it discharged. Read more
An 18-year-old man who police say was driving a stolen car was fatally shot by a friend of the car’s owner in Council Bluffs. Read more
A Tecumseh, Nebraska, man shot two former co-workers after they forced their way into his home and tried to fight with him, according to the State Patrol. Read more
A North Carolina man was arrested by Lincoln police after they say he attempted to kidnap a 14-year-old girl and take her to live with him in Wisconsin. Read more
A Shelton woman was driving north on U.S. Highway 281 when a man who’d been kicked out of another vehicle forced his way into her van. The woman, frightened by the man, took her infant and left the vehicle. But the suspect didn’t get far because the key fob remained with the woman. Read more
A staff member at the Tecumseh State Prison was attacked when an inmate’s cell door was mistakenly opened. Read more
A Lincoln man who had ambitions of being a fighter has been arrested on suspicion of assault after authorities say he attacked a pro wrestling great during the Hall of Fame ceremony in New York City. Read more
More than 200 dead cattle and another 200-plus in questionable condition were found on property in Fillmore County, Nebraska, investigators said. Read more
The SUV of an Omaha woman was repeatedly rammed from behind in a Taco Bell drive-thru lane by a man who later got into the woman’s vehicle and drove it into the concrete base around a light pole. Read more
A 17-year-old boy was taken into custody after he took an unloaded 9 mm handgun to school, La Vista police said. Read more
A woman was injured after being put in the trunk of a car that fled police and crashed, police said. The woman had been reported abducted. Read more
A trip to Arby’s for lunch turned into a dangerous road-rage incident in Elkhorn when a driver got out of his car with a handgun and shot the tire on another man’s pickup truck. Read more
A 33-year-old man accused of leading Omaha police officers on a high-speed chase across the city had tried to run over officers, a prosecutor said, before the chase ended at The World-Herald building. Read more
A teenager was sentenced after luring a man for sex and fatally wounding him during a robbery. Read more
DNA helped lead police to man charged in a Guaca Maya slaying. Read more
A former U.S. Air Force counterintelligence specialist who defected to Iran has been charged with revealing classified information to the government in Tehran, including the code name and secret mission of a Pentagon program, prosecutors said. Read more
A masked man shot a clerk inside the Bucky’s convenience store at 30th and Dodge Streets about 3 a.m. She was taken to the Nebraska Medical Center with an injury that wasn’t considered life-threatening. Read more
A 25-year-old man suffered a gunshot wound after he went to confront a 50-year-old man at his home. Read more
An Iowa woman has been charged with five felonies after authorities alleged that she stole $3,535 worth of pull-tab lottery tickets while she worked at a convenience store. Read more
A 33-year-old man accused of cutting his girlfriend with a sword was covered in blood when police arrived at a house in Lincoln. Read more
A parolee is back in jail after punching a man who was a Tinder date for his girlfriend’s friend, according to a court affidavit. Read more
A grenade found in a dumpster in southeast Nebraska was disposed of by Nebraska State Patrol troopers. Read more
A Lincoln man upset that his wife and a friend were talking too loudly as he was trying to get to sleep walked downstairs and pointed a gun at his wife, police said. Read more
DNA evidence led police to issue an arrest warrant in an unsolved 2013 slaying of a Ralston woman. Read more
An Omaha man was arrested after an investigation indicated he had allowed two adult pit bulls to starve to death. Read more
A standoff with Omaha police ended after a man fell off an SUV, where he had been standing and shouting. Read more
Law officers from multiple agencies converged in rural Nebraska on Monday after a man exchanged gunfire twice with officers and escaped from a traffic stop by stealing a sheriff’s vehicle. Read more
An Iowa woman who went to prison for sex with 17-year-old ward of the state said she feels shame and remorse. Read more
The former pharmacy director for Children’s Hospital & Medical Center accused of embezzling more than $4.6 million from the hospital pleaded guilty to wire fraud Monday in U.S. District Court. Read more
A 22-year-old man reportedly drove drunk to the parking lot of the Lancaster County Jail, where his vehicle was spotted weaving and driving over an island. His blood-alcohol content was .172, Lincoln police said. Read more
An injured, naked woman was found outdoors in midtown Omaha on Monday and taken to the Nebraska Medical Center, said Officer Phil Anson, a police spokesman. Read more
A woman has filed a police report accusing Steve LeClair, an Omaha firefighter and the president of the firefighters union, of assaulting her in November. Read more
A Nebraska woman who has been charged with incest told a police officer that she wanted to have sex with her father because of a competition with her half sister to see who could do it first. Read more
Omahan 'rings' in the new year in prison for theft of $629,000 wedding ring. Read more
A club basketball coach who promised weekends of tournaments, personalized jerseys and cookie dough for fundraising took parents’ money and didn’t deliver, authorities say. Read more
Omaha ended 2018 on a high note not seen for decades — no one was criminally slain in Omaha in the final three months of the year. Read more