A Doral Tae Kwon Do instructor appeared in court on January 9 to face charges of sexual battery. According to the authorities, 22-year-old Sebastian Choi sexually abused a young student at Team Taekwondo in Miami. The alleged abuse took place three years ago, when the victim was 10 years old.
The victim, who is now 13 years old, told police that Choi forced her to perform sexual acts at the martial arts studio. The victim first came forward and told her mother that Choi abused her when she was 10 years old and Choi was 19.
Choi has been charged with two counts of sexual battery on a minor and two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation. He refused to answer police questions before being arrested. He is currently being held without bond.
Attorney Michael Haggard helps survivors of sexual violence find justice and support in civil lawsuits. We've asked him to share some insight concerning the legal options available to survivors of sexual abuse by martial arts instructors:
Tragically, we live in a world where the owners of businesses that involve working with kids must take preventative measures to make sure the kids are safe from the risk of sexual abuse. Sexual predators often seek out positions in these types of fields, as they see these jobs and volunteer positions as opportunities to commit heinous crimes. When a child is sexually abused by an instructor in a martial arts studio, dance studio, or another business, the victims and their families may have options for justice in both the criminal justice and civil court systems.
The criminal justice system handles the prosecution of sexual predators, while the civil court system demands accountability from negligent third parties, such as employers who fail to keep children under their watch safe from sexual predators. For example, a martial arts studio might be considered negligent for abuse if they failed to run a background check before hiring a new employee or failed to report suspected sexual abuse to law enforcement. In cases that involve negligence, the victims and their families may have grounds for a lawsuit.
If you or a loved one is a survivor of sexual abuse by a martial arts instructor, we understand the troubling times your family faces. However, you may be able to find justice by taking legal action. If you'd like to learn more about your family's legal options, get in touch with one of our experienced sex abuse survivors lawyers for a free consultation.