Instructor accused of lewd acts closes martial arts school - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Instructor accused of lewd acts closes Allied Gardens martial arts school

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EL CAJON (CBS 8) - A local karate instructor accused of having sex with a teenage student is temporarily closing down his martial arts school. Eric Protas made the announcement on Facebook to parents of students who believe he's innocent.

Eric Protas appeared in El Cajon court Monday while free on $800,000 bail. The 38-year-old karate instructor is facing more than two dozen counts of engaging in sex acts with a teenage boy who took classes at the Allied Gardens School of Martial Arts. The boy testified at a hearing last month their sexual relationship began when he was 13.

On a Facebook page dedicated to promoting his innocence, Protas announced his martial arts school will be shutting down until the trial is over.

"The tongue of my accuser has set this massive forest fire ablaze... and now a school that has been open for 20 years and has helped the lives of thousands must be closed... for now," Protas wrote.

In court, Judge Allen Preckel ruled attorneys will be allowed to inspect confidential school records on the boy making the accusations. The judge also ordered Protas to turn over a 9mm pistol he owns to La Mesa police.

"We just think it's best and prudent that Mr. Protas not own or possess or have access to any firearms, as we would with anybody charged with these types of crimes," deputy district attorney John Philpott said.

Protas has been ordered to have no contact with his teenage accuser while free on bail. Eric Protas and his attorney both declined to comment outside court Monday.

The judge set a new trial date for Jan. 4.

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