The owner of Kokusai Karate Dojo in Bloomfield was arrested on July 2 on allegations that he sexually abused a young student at the dojo.
An 11-year-old female student at the karate studio told Bloomfield police that the owner and instructor, 56-year-old Edilberto “Eddie” Torres, had sexually abused her multiple times after he agreed to watch her before classes.
The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office and criminal complaint say that the abuse happened between April and June.
Torres has been charged with sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child.
He was released from custody on July 9 following a detention hearing. Judge Martin Cronin released him under the condition that he have no contact with his accuser or any other minors under age 17 other than family. He is also prohibited from going within 100 feet of the dojo or to any offsite events for the business.
Torres is scheduled to appear in court again on August 2.
Attorney contributor Brian Kent represents victims of sexual abuse in their fights for justice in civil cases. Brian has offered to share some thoughts on the legal options available to victims of sexual abuse by martial arts instructors:
Businesses, where adult employees are working with children, must do everything they can to make sure those children are safe. Sexual predators often seek out jobs in these businesses, where they exploit their positions of trust in order to commit terrible crimes against children. When a child is sexually abused by a martial arts instructor, it’s important to determine if the business did all in their power to prevent that abuse.
In some cases of sexual abuse involving martial arts instructors, the owner of the business is partially responsible for failing to prevent the abuse. For example, the owner could be liable if they failed to run background checks or if the owner himself was the abuser. In such cases of negligence, the victims and their families may have grounds for a lawsuit.
If you or your child is a survivor of sexual abuse by a martial arts instructor, you can learn more about your family’s legal options by speaking with an experienced sex abuse survivors attorney.