In August, the owner of RAIVA Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Davie was arrested for allegedly sexually abusing three young students from the center. 34-year-old Joao Da Silva has been charged with lewd and lascivious misconduct based on these allegations.
Davie police detectives were investigating incidents involving two of the victims, while the Hollywood Police Department was investigating the third. According to the arrest report, Davie police were notified of these accusations on June 20. The victims were 17, 15, and 13 years old at that time.
According to the police, a 13-year-old provided a sworn recorded statement alleging that Da Silva had touched her breast underneath her bra. She said this happened roughly three times a week over the course of the past three years when she was taking jiu-jitsu classes at the center. She said these incidents happened after classes.
The 15-year-old victim had also attended classes for the past three years and made a similar allegation, telling police that Da Silva also touched her breast under her bra roughly two weeks before the contacted the police.
The incidents involving the 17-year-old victim occurred in Hollywood. That victim told police that Da Silva molested her during a camp the studio held at Hollywood Beach sometime after June 8, 2018.
Attorney contributor Michael Haggard represents survivors of sexual abuse in civil lawsuits. We've asked him to share some input on the legal options available to martial arts instructor sexual abuse:
The martial arts industry is like many others that involve working with kids. While the majority of people in this industry are honorable and trustworthy, sexual predators are often drawn to this field because of the close proximity to potential victims and the authority and trust that comes with these positions. When an instructor or owner of a martial arts studio abuses students, the victims and their families deserve justice.
In many cases of sexual abuse by martial arts instructors, the victims may have grounds for a lawsuit. These studios have a responsibility to make sure their students are safe and a failure to do so may constitute negligence. 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 to one of our experienced sexual abuse survivors lawyers.