Karate Teacher Gets Effective Life Sentence for Child Sex Abuse
The former karate teacher convicted of sexually abusing eight students over an 11-year period will likely spend the rest of his life in prison. 30-year-old Michael Scherbanic was sentenced to 78 to 156 years in prison on June 28, 2018 by Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Donna Jo McDaniel.
In April 2018, Scherbanic was found guilty on 85 counts of various sex charges, including several counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child, unlawful contact with a minor, indecent assault, indecent exposure, and endangering the welfare of children.
During the trial, several young men between ages 14 and 22 testified that Scherbanic had repeatedly forced them to perform sex acts in his office at Tang Soo Do Karate College between 2005 and 2016. They also testified that Scherbanic hosted sleepovers at the school and brought students on outings to entertainment venues in the area.
Scherbanic also admitted to plotting with another inmate at the Allegheny County Jail to kill some of the young men who testified against him.
Justice for Child Sex Abuse Survivors and Their Families
Attorney contributor Brian Kent of AbuseGuardian.com is a former sex crimes prosecutor and currently represents survivors of sexual violence in civil cases. We’ve asked him to add some information about the legal options available to survivors of sexual abuse committed by teachers, coaches, instructors, and others in positions of trust and authority:
Sexual predators often hide in plain sight, gaining the trust of their communities while working as teachers, coaches, instructors, religious leaders, and in other positions of authority and trust. It’s important for all of us to be aware of the dangers of sexual predators and to take preventative measures for keeping our children safe.
For businesses and organizations that involve working with kids, this means properly vetting employees and making sure the business or organization is run in a way which minimizes the risk of abuse. Additionally, these parties must report any suspected abuse to law enforcement immediately.
Legal Recourse for Victims of Martial Arts Instructor Sexual Abuse
When an employee or owner of a business like a martial arts or dance studio sexually abuses students, there are many important concerns to address following the allegations. The perpetrator must be investigated and prosecuted, the victims and their families must receive the support they deserve, and the business or organization must also be investigated to determine if their negligence allowed the abuse to occur.
Some examples of reasons a business or organization might be considered negligent and held liable for abuse include:
- Failing to run a background check and hiring an employee with a history of sexual misconduct
- Allowing employees to spend time alone with kids unsupervised
- Failing to report allegations of sexual misconduct to law enforcement
If you or a loved one is a survivor of martial arts instructor sexual abuse or abuse by another authority figure, we sympathize with the pain your family is struggling with during this traumatic time. We want to help. To learn more about your family’s legal options, contact one of our experienced sex abuse survivors lawyers for a free consultation.