Choreographer Shane Sparks was ordered on Monday to stand trial on eight counts of sex involving underage girls. The 41-year old hip-hop dancer (born Melvin Shane Sparks) and former judge on MTV's "America's Best Dance Crew," was arrested on December 18 at his Los Angeles-area home on charges that involved alleged sexual contact with an underage girl in the 1990s.
The Associated Press reported that during a preliminary hearing on Monday a Superior Court judge ruled that there was enough evidence to bring Sparks to trial on six counts of lewd acts on a child and two counts of oral copulation of a person under 16.
Sparks' lawyer, Steve Meister, told MTV News on Tuesday (November 2) that he believes the witness in the case has "serious" credibility issues and he plans to question the statute of limitations on the charges.
"We will continue to challenge the statute on constitutional grounds and I think we have a strong case," said Meister, noting that the witness testified in the preliminary hearing and that the burden of proof to bring the charges forward at that point was very low.
Meister added that the statute of limitations on some of the charges against Sparks ran out almost a decade ago, with others timing out around 2006. "Nothing was reported back then and for someone to claim now that justice has to be done? All the challenges we made to this case were made at the preliminary hearing and I'm not persuaded of her veracity in the slightest," he said. "And we are not done."
The alleged acts reportedly began in 1993 and continued until 1997. The child in question was identified in court documents by her first name and last initial and was described as being under the age of 14. Sparks was hit with the six felony counts of committing a lewd act on a child, "with the intent of arousing, appealing to, and gratifying the lust, passions and sexual desires of the said defendant and the said child." The alleged incidents are said to have occurred at various times between July 1, 1994 and April 30, 1997.
He was also charged with two counts of oral copulation of a person under the age of 16 by someone over the age of 21 for incidents that allegedly occurred between April 4, 1995 and April 30, 1997 and August 4, 1995 and April 30, 1997. At the time of his arrest, a Los Angeles TV station reported that the victim was one of Sparks' dance students at Millennium Dance Complex in Los Angeles.
Cincinnati-born Sparks has worked with Brandy, Aaliyah, Monica and Lindsay Lohan and was nominated for an Emmy for his choreography on "So You Think You Can Dance." He is scheduled to be arraigned on November 15.