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PizDoff
8/15/2006 9:57pm,
Karate instructor still not charged in molestation case

By Sophia Kazmi
CONTRA COSTA TIMES

PLEASANTON - The Alameda County District Attorney's Office has not yet filed charges against a Livermore karate instructor accused of molesting two of his students. Michael Todd Smith, 32, of Livermore, appeared briefly with his lawyer Monday morning in Superior Court Judge Hugh Walker's Pleasanton courtroom.
Walker seemed surprised charges have not been filed yet. "These are very serious charges," he said.

http://www.contracostatimes.com/mld/cctimes/email/news/15276987.htm

This is disgraceful.

Anonymous25
9/04/2006 10:04pm,
What is dreadful is that the alleged "victim" is a disgruntled ex-instructor that was asked to leave the school and this is her way of getting revenge. The fact that no charges have been filed is just proof that they don't have a strong enough case to go ahead with the trial. In the meantime, other instructors have to run the school and it is effecting many people's lives. This instructor is standup guy who would never hurt anyone. The whole thing is nonsense.

Sam Browning
9/04/2006 11:56pm,
So why does the article say that he admitted wrongdoing to the police?

The article seems to indicate that the students were minors. How old were they?

NoMan
9/05/2006 9:29am,
two teenage female students

If the two females are teenagers, they have no business being instructors.

Elky
9/05/2006 9:49am,
If the two females are teenagers, they have no business being instructors.
Running a questionable school doesn't make him a paedophile.

As the earlier poster said, perhaps they're not pressing charges because the case is suspect.

NoMan
9/05/2006 11:08am,
Running a questionable school doesn't make him a paedophile.

As the earlier poster said, perhaps they're not pressing charges because the case is suspect.

It's a logical non sequitor. Outside of logic and into common sense, I think having a teenage female instructor is literally begging for problems. The person in question is innocent until proven guilty, but if I see a teenage female instructing a class, I think:

1.) McDojo.
2.) Begging for trouble.



According to police, Smith admitted to inappropriate contact with one of the students.

It also says in there that he admitted wrongdoing to the police, hence had to post the bail. The reason they could not be pressing further charges is that the offense may not fall under the categories, insufficient evidence to warrant further investigation, unwillingness of witnesses to cooperate, etc.

Anonymous25
9/05/2006 12:18pm,
"Inappropriate contact" can mean anything. I have had students run up and hug me after class. This could be construed as inappropriate. The nature of martial arts when you are doing self-defense manuvers is that you have to touch other people.

Haven't you ever accidentally brushed someone's chest, or kicked them in the groin during sparring, or put your hand on their shoulder when speaking to them? I have an instructor that used to poke me in the midriff when we were joking around. I could call that "inappropriate contact". I know this school owner personally and I know that he would never do anything immoral or illegal.

The nature of the market where this school is located is that there are a lot of kids and teenagers, especially teenage girls. There is a junior instructor training program for the kids and teens, and another for adults. Sometimes in rare instances, teens (14 and above) that show an unusual amount of maturity and dedication to the school are allowed to join the adult instructor training program.

This is not a "McSchool" by any means. This school does not hand out belts. This school has very high standards; it has been open for 5 years and does not have any black belts yet. It is associated with 3 other schools in the area that were started by Mr. Terry Kane, who has been in the business for over 30 years. All four schools have a very good reputation.

The only thing that this instructor has ever done wrong is to care too much about his students. He is too friendly, too approachable. I guess in this business, you can't do that. You have to be cold and impersonal. It is a sad world we live in where a teacher cannot hug a student for fear of being arrested.

Sam Browning
9/05/2006 5:28pm,
How old were the two girls?

Do you know them personally? (If you haven't met them how can you assess their credibility?)

You cannot be arrested without some crime being alleged. If I have time I think I'll make a phone call or two tomarrow.

NoMan
9/05/2006 7:13pm,
How old were the two girls?

Do you know them personally? (If you haven't met them how can you assess their credibility?)

You cannot be arrested without some crime being alleged. If I have time I think I'll make a phone call or two tomarrow.

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cacodes/pen/281-294.html

According to the law, penal code 288, which is what the felony he is being charged with falls under:


(1) Any person who commits an act described in subdivision (a)
with the intent described in that subdivision, and the victim is a
child of 14 or 15 years, and that person is at least 10 years older
than the child, is guilty of a public offense and shall be punished
by imprisonment in the state prison for one, two, or three years, or
by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year. In
determining whether the person is at least 10 years older than the
child, the difference in age shall be measured from the birth date of
the person to the birth date of the child.

We're talking about a fifteen year old girl at the oldest. Subdivision (A) states that:


(a) Any person who willfully and lewdly commits any lewd or
lascivious act, including any of the acts constituting other crimes
provided for in Part 1, upon or with the body, or any part or member
thereof, of a child who is under the age of 14 years, with the intent
of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust, passions, or
sexual desires of that person or the child, is guilty of a felony and
shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for three,
six, or eight years.

So, if the girl is under 14 years old, we're talking about a minimum 3 year sentence, if she's 15, we're talking about a minimum 1 year prison sentence.

Sam Browning
9/05/2006 10:16pm,
Thank you, you think like a lawyer and thats a compliment.

Anonymous25
9/06/2006 12:25am,
Yes, I know both of the individuals personally, and no, I cannot comment in any detail because their names are not being released to the public. The story is much more complicated than the media would suggest.

For argument's sake, if the instructor admits to, say, poking a student in the ribs as a joke, then it comes down to his word against the student's as to wether this contact was done with intent of "arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust, passions, or sexual desires of that person or the child." California penal code is very much open to interpretation here. The press makes it sound as nasty as possible in order to sell more papers.

If I had a daughter, I would definitely feel comfortable having her work with this instructor.

Anonymous25
9/06/2006 12:28am,
Oh, yeah, and class sizes at the school have been exactly the same. Things are running as normal at the school since the incident, which happened over a month ago. So, it is obvious that the other students and parents feel the same way I do.

Sam Browning
9/06/2006 12:42pm,
So why does the article say that he admitted wrongdoing to the police?

The article seems to indicate that the students were minors. How old were they?

You didn't answer these questions. Then you're implying that the contact was accidental, joking, or misinterpreted and then say the situation is "complicated".

We didn't ask for the girl's names, thats a misinterpretation on your part.

If you are claiming the contact was innocent, then what did he admit to the police.

Sam Browning
9/06/2006 1:08pm,
I called the prosecutor's office. He was arrested for two counts of 288(c)(1) and one count of 647.6 (a) which is the misdemeanor charge. The office tells me his arraignment is on 9-27-2006 and typically, but not always, the District Attorney's Office will decide to file charges by that time. If they decide not to file charges the arrest would be either dismissed or vacated depending on what terms they use out there.

noobgrl
8/24/2010 7:51pm,
"Inappropriate contact" can mean anything. I have had students run up and hug me after class. This could be construed as inappropriate. The nature of martial arts when you are doing self-defense manuvers is that you have to touch other people.

is a junior instructor training program for the kids and teens, and another for adults. Sometimes in rare instances, teens (14 and above) that show an unusual amount of maturity and dedication to the school are allowed to join the adult instructor training program.

This is not a "McSchool" by any means. This school does not hand out belts. This school has very high standards; it has been open for 5 years and does not have any black belts yet. It is associated with 3 other schools in the area that were started by Mr. Terry Kane, who has been in the business for over 30 years. All four schools have a very good reputation.

The only thing that this instructor has ever done wrong is to care too much about his students. He is too friendly, too approachable. I guess in this business, you can't do that. You have to be cold and impersonal. It is a sad world we live in where a teacher cannot hug a student for fear of being arrested.





It's been a while since this has happened, I knew Mr. Smith personally. At first he did come across nice and caring, but with girls he was totally inappropriate. I was a teenager at the time and he did some very inappropriate things. I wasn't the one to come forward, but after hearing that two girls came forward, I felt guilty about not filing a complaint because others were hurt and I didn't say anything. He is very good at hiding this part of him, most abusers are. Lots of abusers come across as wonderful people, and when they are inappropriate they have a way of sweet talking you into not telling anyone, or questioning yourself even though you know it was wrong. He didn't do these things unless he was alone with a girl, he didn't want anyone else to see or know about it. You can't tell by looking at someone that they are this way, and when you think highly of someone it's hard to accept that they are a sleeze. I know without a doubt that Mr. Smith did this things to those girls because he did some things to me as well, but I was too young and niave, but now I know better.

TheMightyMcClaw
8/24/2010 9:03pm,
It's been a while since this has happened, I knew Mr. Smith personally. At first he did come across nice and caring, but with girls he was totally inappropriate. I was a teenager at the time and he did some very inappropriate things. I wasn't the one to come forward, but after hearing that two girls came forward, I felt guilty about not filing a complaint because others were hurt and I didn't say anything. He is very good at hiding this part of him, most abusers are. Lots of abusers come across as wonderful people, and when they are inappropriate they have a way of sweet talking you into not telling anyone, or questioning yourself even though you know it was wrong. He didn't do these things unless he was alone with a girl, he didn't want anyone else to see or know about it. You can't tell by looking at someone that they are this way, and when you think highly of someone it's hard to accept that they are a sleeze. I know without a doubt that Mr. Smith did this things to those girls because he did some things to me as well, but I was too young and niave, but now I know better.

Would you be willing to go into greater detail on the extent and manner of Mr. Smith's inappropriate behavior?