SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A karate instructor betrayed the trust of three teenage students by molesting the boys at his Tierrasanta martial arts studio, a prosecutor told a jury today.
Deputy District Attorney Wendy Patrick alleged 39-year-old Juan Melesio Flores, an accomplished black belt, molested the boys in a "serial monogamous fashion" with massages, genital rubbing and oral copulation.
Flores -- who is charged with sexually assaulting two of the boys -- was a father figure and mentor to the victims, she said.
"They were afraid of the defendant and they also loved him," the prosecutor told the jury in her opening statement.
Patrick said Flores befriended a 16-year-old boy and massaged him with oil, but the teen said he didn't like it and the behavior stopped short of sex.
Flores told the youth that he was gay, according to the prosecutor.
Another alleged victim, Brandon, was groomed in the same way until one day in November 2012, when the defendant "went way too far" and committed a sex act on him, the prosecutor said. Two weeks later, Flores committed another sex act on the same boy, who was so embarrassed that he didn't tell his parents about being molested for months, Patrick said.
Another boy, Derek, was molested at Flores' karate studio when he was 14 and 15, the prosecutor said.
She alleged Flores began touching Derek inappropriately during 2013, culminating with a massage in the defendant's office that went "very bad."
During that "Ninja Night" sleepover at the studio, Flores, who had been drinking, committed a second sex act on Derek, the prosecutor alleged.
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.
Lowe said one of Flores' former students would testify that he took naps
with the defendant and put his head on the instructor's shoulders, but nothing inappropriate ever happened during their 15 years together.
The defense attorney said that Derek -- who has Asperger syndrome -- made claims and allegations that were not believable.
Lowe said Flores will testify in his own defense.
Flores -- who is out of custody on $350,000 bail -- faces more than 12 years in prison if convicted of multiple counts of oral copulation and committing a lewd act on a child.
Several dogs are in the custody of San Diego County, after a Lomita woman reported that her six dogs were attacked and some killed by a group of pit bulls.
Thousands of people marched through downtown San Diego and San Marcos in the second annual Women's March Saturday. The San Diego event began at 10 a.m. at the downtown Waterfront Park on Pacific Highway, while the North County event began at 11 a.m. at Palomar College.
Thousands of people marched through downtown San Diego and San Marcos in the second annual Women's March Saturday. The San Diego event began at 10 a.m. at the downtown Waterfront Park on Pacific Highway, while the North County event began at 11 a.m. at Palomar College. The two marches were held in conjunction with other marches across the country.
The federal government shut down at the stroke of midnight Friday, which prompted the closure of many federal operations, such as national parks and monuments and that included the shutdown of Cabrillo National Monument.
Chilly temperatures and scattered showers started the weekend. Temperatures at the coast and inland communities hovered around 60 degrees with some areas of San Diego County receiving rain during the morning hours.
A transient accused of fatally stabbing a man after they got into an argument near a 7-Eleven store in Poway pleaded not guilty Friday to a murder charge.
Coastal rail closures could complicate the commute for the thousands of people expected at Women's Marches set for downtown San Diego and San Marcos Saturday, though additional transit options are being made available.
A man arrested in the doctor's lounge at Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa after claiming to be an anesthesiologist pleaded not guilty Friday to a felony charge of treating the sick without a certificate.
People who bought new homes in Otay Ranch's Village of Escaya can start moving in Friday - later than planned but after the developer took steps to address methane found at the site.
Recent assaults by tactical teams on prototypes of President Donald Trump’s proposed wall with Mexico found their imposing heights should stop border crossers, The Associated Press has learned, a finding that’s likely to please security hawks but raise concerns about costs and environmental damage.