The owner and head coach of Music City Fencing Club was arrested Monday afternoon on charges of inducing sexual activity by a minor.
Robert Piraino, 37, is accused of paying a female juvenile student to send him explicit pictures and videos.
The victim, now 15, told her therapist last month that this activity started in 2019.
In 2019, Piraino offered to help the victim with an essay for an award. He told her he would need something in return and used emojis with a sexual connotation to make his point, an arrest affidavit states.
The victim sent explicit pictures over Snapchat, and a few days later, Piraino slipped a $100 credit card in her back pocket, police said.
According to the affidavit, Piraino told the victim, “If you want to earn some more, you can get some more.”
The victim asked Piraino how she could earn more money and was told she would have to do “something special.” Piraino paid the victim $10 per inappropriate picture, paying around $110, the affidavit said. Piraino then told the victim that she could make more money if she sent a video.
The victim disclosed that she has sent about 30 pictures and five videos to Piraino.
Piraino sent the victim videos of him having sex with other women. He also asked for pairs of socks from the victim.
At least once, the affidavit states, the victim was sent a screenshot of one of her nude photos. Because of this, the victim believed that her photos were being stored on Piraino’s electronic devices.
In 2020, Piraino left an iPhone in the Music City Fencing Club locker room to have the victim take pictures of her feet on it so Piraino could get the pictures later.
Police obtained a laptop and iPhone from the victim that had corroborating evidence, including a receipt from one of two credit cards given to the victim.
Last week, Detective Brian Zullo conducted a controlled phone call between Piraino and the victim. Piraino acknowledged the victim had sent him inappropriate pictures and apologized for his “inappropriate behavior.”
Piraino was arrested at the fencing club Monday afternoon. Search warrants have been executed at the business and Piraino’s Church Street residence. Cellphones and computers, as well as other items, have been seized.
Piraino is jailed in lieu of $150,000 bond.
Parents whose children took lessons from Piraino at Music City Fencing Club are encouraged to talk with their kids and report any concerns to the MNPD’s Youth Services Division at 615-862-7417. Zullo is leading this investigation.