SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A karate instructor accused of repeatedly molesting two of his teenage students at his Tierrasanta martial arts studio pleaded not guilty Monday to 15 felony charges of oral copulation and lewd acts on a child.
Juan Melesio Flores, 38, was ordered held on $350,000 bail. He was arrested Thursday outside his Z-Ultimate Studio on Tierrasanta Boulevard.
Deputy District Attorney Wendy Patrick said both of the alleged victims were students at the defendant's studio and he had known them for years. The students ranged in age from 15 to 17 when the alleged molestations occurred in 2012 and this year.
The prosecutor said Flores engaged in an "escalation of conduct" with both boys that led to massages and oral copulation.
Patrick praised the alleged victims for coming forward and revealing "what this defendant had been doing."
Defense attorney Vincent Ross argued unsuccessfully for $100,000 bail, saying Flores was a lifelong San Diegan who gave back to the community by teaching self-defense to various groups.
Flores faces 12 years and three months in prison if convicted, Patrick said.
A preliminary hearing was set for Jan. 13.