Acclaimed Grammy-winning Russian pianist and conductor Mikhail Vasilievich Pletnev has been charged with raping a 14-year-old boy in a Thai beach town. Pletnev, the founder of the Russian National Orchestra, was also charged with appearing in disturbing photos with several other boys, said a Thai police spokesman. Pletnev has been released on $9,000 bail and could face 20 years in prison if convicted of the charges. "This whole thing is a misunderstanding," Pletnev told AP.
Police said they were led to Pletnev by a Thai national busted in a child prostitution ring. The musician owns several businesses in Thailand and a home in the resort of Pattaya, a favorite of Russian tourists. Thailand, long a haven for sex tourists, has recently been cracking down on child rape, prostitutuion and pornography.