Martial Arts Studio Owner Appears in Court for Preliminary Hearing
After being arrested in August for allegedly raping students at his martial arts studio in Newport News, 30-year-old Jeremy Armstead appeared in court on November 29 for a preliminary hearing. Armstead is accused of raping and sexually assaulting three young female students at Xtreme Dragon’s Black Belt Academy.
Armstead has been charged with rape, forcible sodomy, abduction, strangulation, indecent exposure, and carnal knowledge of a child between 13 and 15 years of age. During his court appearance, a judge certified all charges against him to a grand jury.
According to court documents, the victims came forward to police in July and reported that they had been raped as young girls while attending classes at the martial arts school.
One victim told police that she was 12 years old when Armstead first sexually assaulted her. She also told police that she was raped and sexually assaulted three more times between the ages of 12 and 15.
A second victim told police that she was 16 years old when Armstead allegedly raped her inside of the studio when no one else was there.
A third victim said that she had sexual relations with Armstead when she was 14, but that she believed they were in a relationship at the time. She also told police that Armstead forced her to perform a sex act.
Armstead has been jailed without bond. If convicted on all counts, he could face life in prison. No trial date has been set.
Legal Recourse for Survivors of Sexual Abuse by Martial Arts Instructors
Attorney contributor Brian Kent of AbuseGuardian.com specializes in helping victims of sexual assault find justice in civil lawsuits. Here are some of his thoughts concerning the legal rights of those who have been sexually abused by instructors at martial arts studios and other businesses:
Tragically, we live in a world where all parents must be wary of sexual predators who seek to abuse children in their communities. These predators are often found in positions of trust, such as our schools, religious organizations, youth sports leagues, martial arts and dance studios, etc.
When a child is sexually abused in a place of business, it’s crucial to make sure that the victim and their family get the full support they need and that the abuser is prosecuted. In many cases, the victim’s family may also have grounds for a lawsuit against the business.
Earlier this month, a lawsuit was filed against the owners and instructors of several karate schools in South Georgia and Jacksonville in connection with alleged sexual abuse at Pak’s Karate in Kingsland, Georgia.
If you or your child is a survivor of sexual abuse at a martial arts studio or another business, you may be able to find justice through the legal system. Consider speaking to one of our experienced sexual abuse survivors attorneys to learn more about your family’s legal options.