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Russian pianist appears in child sexual abuse case

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Russian pianist returns to Thai court
  • Russian pianist Mikhail Pletnev has returned to a Thai court
  • He has been questioned on allegations of rape involving a boy
  • Pletnev has denied the accusations
  • Thai court has allowed Pletnev to leave the country as long as he returns every 12 days

Pattaya, Thailand (CNN) -- Russian pianist Mikhail Pletnev, accused of raping a 14-year-old boy, appeared Monday in a Thai court as he had promised to do.

"I say again these allegations are not true," the musician said in a statement. "I also state, contrary to media reports, that during the police search of my home, nothing connected with the allegations, no photographs or other visual materials were found in the computer."

The Grammy Award-winning artist, dressed in a beige suit, spent about five minutes at the court after pressing through a throng of reporters.

The judge has released him from custody on $9,000 bail until the criminal charges against him are resolved, with the proviso that he return to the seaside town of Pattaya every 12 days to renew the conditions of the bail. That means Pletnev can travel abroad as long as he continues to make his court dates.

Pletnev was arrested and charged July 6 with raping the teenage boy in the Thai beach town, where he owns a house. The crime carries a maximum prison term of 20 years.

According to the Child Protection and Development Center, Thailand remains a destination for child migrants, many of whom enter the child sex tourism industry. "Pattaya in particular has developed an international reputation for child sex tourism," the non-governmental organization's website says about the town, two hours south of Bangkok. "Anti-trafficking researchers targeting street children estimate that Pattaya hosts about 1,500 to 2,000 homeless and impoverished children per year, while numbers are increasing. Children search for work, migrating -- alone or with their families -- from Thailand's northeast provinces, Cambodia, Burma, Laos and Vietnam."

CNN's Dan Rivers contributed to this report.