Palo Alto police have arrested an instructor from a martial arts studio on Middlefield Road in Palo Alto for allegedly attempting to kiss a longtime student and part-time employee when she was 17 years old. Police are now releasing the information to find out if additional victims exist, though they are currently unaware of any other victims, according to a department press release.
Mountain View resident Jorge Alberto Tejada, 39, self-surrendered to the Santa Clara County Main Jail on a misdemeanor charge of annoying or molesting a child on the morning of Thursday, Aug. 14. He had been an instructor at Hiruko Wellness at 2741 Middlefield Road and taught the victim taekwondo since she was 11 years old, police said. According to the studio's website, he co-founded the center with Executive Director Natalia Gabrea Tejada.
Police learned of the alleged incident this May, when the victim who is now an adult called police to report what had happened. She told officers that she had been taking classes from Tejada for years and had also become a part-time employee at Hiruko Wellness. In late 2013, when she was 17, she told police that Tejada put his arms around her and held her close to him while they were alone inside the studio. He then took her face in both of his hands and attempted to kiss her, police said. She repeatedly pulled away until he let her go.
After investigating the incident, police presented the case to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office, who filed the misdemeanor charge. Police obtained a warrant for Tejada's arrest on Aug. 4; he self-surrendered 10 days later.
Police encourage anyone with information to come forward by contacting the department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through the police department's free mobile app, downloadable at bit.ly/PAPD-AppStore or it.ly/PAPD-GooglePlay.