SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A May 2 trial date was set Thursday for a karate instructor accused of repeatedly molesting two of his teenage students at his Tierrasanta martial arts studio.
Juan Melesio Flores, 38, pleaded not guilty to 15 felony charges of oral copulation and committing a lewd act on a child. A readiness conference was set for April 28.
Judge Charles Rogers also relieved Flores' private attorney, Vincent Ross, at the defendant's request and appointed the Public Defender's Office.
Flores faces more than 12 years in state prison if convicted.
One of the alleged victims -- identified in court as Brandon -- testified during a preliminary hearing last month that he was 12 or 13 years old when he met Flores and looked up to him as a friend and mentor.
Brandon said that when he was 16, Flores began groping his genitals over and under his clothes while at the martial arts studio. He testified that he laughed it off at first, but it became a daily occurrence.
The alleged victim said things progressed until Flores performed a sex act on him in November 2012.
The witness said it was not unusual for Flores to massage his students or ask them to give him a massage.
After the first sexual encounter, he said he told Flores that he could get in trouble for what he had done, and the defendant responded, "Oh crap!"
"He knew I was a junior in high school," he testified.
Brandon said he initially told his girlfriend and best friend what happened, and ultimately told his mother.
Another alleged victim, identified as Derek, testified that Flores started molesting him at the studio when he was 14.
The defendant molested him multiple times, including at a studio sleepover last December, according to the alleged victim, who testified that he told his mother what happened the next morning.
San Diego police Detective Samantha Fleming said officers found pictures of naked young men on Flores' phone after it was confiscated.
Another detective testified that the defendant's DNA was found on Derek's genitals.
Sunday was all about those who laid their lives on the line and with the number of veterans dwindling each year, many present at a Miramar ceremony hope to keep their memory alive.
A Navy Seal team member has died after his parachute failed to open during a Fleet Week demonstration over the Hudson River.
Metropolitan Transit System is scheduling extra service starting Monday for a three-day game series between the San Diego Padres and Chicago Cubs at Petco Park, a spokesperson said.
Veterans are being honored across San Diego County during Memorial Day weekend and dozens of Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts were among those spending their Saturday placing American flags at burial sites at the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.
Commencement was held Sunday for seniors at the University of San Diego, with ceremonies featuring a pair of distinguished alumni.
Cool and cloudy conditions start off Friday morning, but the sun will break through in the afternoon. Strong winds in San Diego County's deserts are also expected to ease up Friday morning.
A 30-year-old was knocked out and stabbed three times at the Beyer Trolley Station early Sunday morning, according to Officer Robert Heims of the San Diego Police Department.
A bird was responsible for an outage that left thousands without electricity Sunday, a San Diego Gas & Electric spokesperson said.
The remains of a U.S. Navy pilot killed when his plane was shot down during the Vietnam War have been brought to San Diego for burial.
In the wake of the Gate Fire, which ignited May 20, the Bureau of Land Management has issued new restrictions for Southern California counties, including San Diego.