Recorded telephone call (police present with boy):
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT
EL CAJON (CNS) - A 14-year-old boy testified Tuesday that he had sex about 300 times in the past year and a half with his karate instructor, who faces 30 counts of child molestation.
The testimony came at a preliminary hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to order Eric Dylan Protas to stand trial.
The 38-year-old La Mesa man who owned and operated the Allied Gardens School of Martial Arts on Waring Road is in custody in lieu of $800,000 bail.
The boy testified that Protas became his instructor in an after-school martial arts program when he was in kindergarten, and he began taking classes at the studio when he was older.
At one point, when he was having trouble at home and school, he confided in Protas, who made him feel better, the boy said. He said that launched a relationship in which they got together nearly every day.
"(Protas) was my father figure," said the boy, who is being raised by his single mother and grandparents. "He's all I had."
The teen said he helped instruct younger children in martial arts, went out to eat with the defendant, went hiking with him and eventually began going to his house to watch television and movies.
By the time he was in the seventh grade, he noticed the defendant had an expression of "yearning" when they were together, the witness testified.
"I noticed something was wrong with Eric, I saw it on his face, so I questioned him and he said I would run for the hills if he told me," the boy said.
The two had sex for the first time at the defendant's house later that school year, and it went from once or twice a week to almost daily, he testified.
If he refused, the defendant would "shut down" emotionally and cry, according to the boy, whose name was being withheld because he is underage alleged molestation victim.
Protas' lawyer objected when the subject of his client's alleged suicide note was introduced. Upon further questioning by the prosecution, the boy said he saw a letter that made him afraid of ending the relationship. He said he became very confused and didn't know if he was doing the right thing.
His mother began to suspect that Protas was a pedophile and barred the two from communicating earlier this year. The boy said he was caught shoplifting from a grocery store in June, and he told her about the sexual relationship with the defendant.
Detectives had the boy make a telephone call to Protas, which was recorded and played in court.
The boy brought up the issue of sex several times, but Protas' responses were often unintelligible, although at one point he agreed it was a huge part of their connection.
The prosecution added 18 counts against Protas before the hearing began. He originally faced 21 years in prison if convicted, but the new charges could add significantly to that total.