A FORMER music teacher awarded an MBE in 2005 for services to school music education has denied sexually abusing a number of school girls.

Peter Antonelli faces the allegations, which span between August 1978 and July 2005.

The charges include the alleged rape of a girl, who was a teenager at the time.

A total of 10 different females feature in the accusations, with seven of them described as having been a "student" of Antonelli, who also founded East Lothian-based drama group Musical Youth.

For many years he was also East Lothian Council's instrumental music service co-ordinator.

The indictment names four different schools in East Lothian.

As well as the rape allegation, the 65-year-old also faces 12 charges of lewd and libidinous conduct, two charges of indecent assault and three breach of the peace accusations.

Antonelli, of Gullane, was not present during a hearing today at the High Court in Glasgow.

His QC Brian McConnachie pleaded not guilty on his behalf.

No trial was set. Lady Stacey instead fixed a further hearing due to occur next February.