Karate instructor sentenced for sexually assaulting teen
SAN DIEGO — A karate instructor convicted of sexually assaulting a teenage boy at his Tierrasanta martial arts studio was sentenced Monday.
The judge sentenced 39-year-old Juan Melesio Flores to three years in prison and has to register as a sex offender.
Flores was convicted last November of one count of oral copulation on a minor, but jurors deadlocked on 16 other counts involving two other male students.
Deputy District Attorney Wendy Patrick told the jury that Flores, an accomplished black belt, molested the boys in a “serial monogamous fashion” with massages, genital rubbing and oral copulation.
The defendant had been a father figure and mentor to the teens, Patrick said.
“They were afraid of the defendant and they also loved him,” the prosecutor said.
After Flores’ arrest in December 2013, police confiscated the defendant’s cell phone and found numerous photos of young boys in various stages of undress and some engaging in sexual acts, Patrick told the jury.
Defense attorney Damian Lowe told the panel that Flores had taught hundreds of karate students, trying to help them with life issues whenever he could.
Flores testified that he would massage students to “loosen them up” and some of them would in turn massage his lower back. He denied that anything sexual ever happened between him and the boys.