News

Martial arts instructor arrested for allegedly trying to kiss a minor

DA files misdemeanor charge against co-founder of Hiruko Wellness

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 paloalto@tipnow.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.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Greg Coladonato
a resident of Slater
on Aug 19, 2014 at 2:12 pm

Greg Coladonato is a registered user.

This is a real bummer. We used to take our oldest to this school back when it was located in Los Altos 6 or 7 years ago.

One reason people send their kids to martial arts is to give them to skills to defend against adults with bad intentions.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rich
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 19, 2014 at 2:54 pm

Do you remember when the male daycare worker was arrested in Palo Alto after a kid came home with "white cream" on his head? No questioning, no investigation, just toss the guy in jail.

The cream turned out to be shaving cream that they'd been using for play, and the kid's then-current live-in "uncle" made it clear they were looking for an easy pay-day, and didn't much care about the daycare worker or his 8-month pregnant wife.

Clearly the police can and have gotten it wrong, so we should probably be careful to not jump to conclusions.

Oh, and if you are a male 18 or older, NEVER be alone with someone else's kid. If that kid gets mad at you years later, your life can become a living hell.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cordelia
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 19, 2014 at 4:30 pm

It's good that the police are more responsive to sex abuse than they used to be. I grew up in the bad ole 80's when guys still got away with everything except the most violent crimes.

When I was 10, a neighbor flashed me and the kids while we played in the street. My friend's mom called the cops. He got a verbal warning and continued to flash the neighborhood kids for years.

When I was 14, a teacher told me he had a crush on me and then serenaded me in front of the whole history class. I told my parents about it and nothing happened even though I had many witnesses to back me up.

When I was 16, my grey-haired boss cornered me when I was counting my cashier's tray and stroked my arms and face. I told him I quit and then I reported it to the EDD. There was zero follow-up.

When I was 18, I had an acquaintance stalk me on campus. One day he barged into my dorm room and refused to leave. He said he wanted to "dance" with me and locked us in. I was so scared I was shaking, but I managed to dial 911 and then he left. The cops interviewed me and refused to charge him because he hadn't "done anything yet". So I got my biggest guy friend to yell at the stalker and then he left me alone.

If you think I had a string of bad luck and girls/women don't typically go through this crap, you should consider yourself lucky or very sheltered.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Reader
a resident of another community
on Aug 19, 2014 at 6:37 pm

Since when does being charged with a misdemeanor warrant having your photo in the newspaper and career and reputation ruined? The guy should be considered innocent until proven guilty.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cordelia
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 19, 2014 at 7:26 pm

Wow, we have multiple people who empathize with the guy who was charged with sexually molesting a minor. You should think about why that is and then be ashamed of yourselves.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Reader
a resident of another community
on Aug 19, 2014 at 8:16 pm

Um, Cordelia, did you even read the article? He was charged with a misdemeanor count of "annoying or molesting" a child. What is described in the article seems to be more "annoying" and not molestation. (that's probably why they are only charging him with a misdemeanor!) I'm sorry you don't believe in innocence until proven guilty. For all we know the guy is completely innocent and now his life is ruined.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cordelia
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 19, 2014 at 9:36 pm

Um, are you a sociopath? Sexual molestation does not mean what you think it means. More importantly, why are you creating a strawman argument that others don't believe in innocent until proven guilty? He was arrested which means there was probable cause. Please see a therapist or increase your dosage.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Reader
a resident of another community
on Aug 19, 2014 at 10:04 pm

Poor misguided Cordelia. Let me enlighten you. The words "sex" and "sexual" do not appear anywhere in the article. You are inventing prejudicial evidence which does not exist! Please READ the article again. He was not arrested. He self surrendered 10 days after the arrest warrant was issued. This was such a minor crime (if you could call it that) that the cops did not even think it worthy of their time to go arrest him.

One word: misdemeanor

Goodbye!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cordelia
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 19, 2014 at 10:18 pm

Why are you so invested in defending a man who reportedly overpowered a minor he had authority over? Why are you pretending it wasn't sexual? Did you do something similar? Your audacity is disgusting. I should ask the Voice to hand over your IP address info so you can be thoroughly investigated. Please post again.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 19, 2014 at 11:14 pm

My young son attends this martial arts school, and we couldn't be happier. The sense of community is incredible, something that so many people miss out on in today's world. I will continue to support the school for the life skills they are teaching my son. HOWEVER, I have never and would never leave him alone one-on-one with another adult, either here or somewhere else.

I happen to know for a fact that the police attempted to arrest Mr. Tejada, but he was out of town. So it wasn't a situation where the police didn't think it worth their time to track him down. The police have taken the allegation seriously, which they should. As a woman, I am happy to know this, because any woman who is legitimately taken advantage of should be taken seriously. Yet, I also strongly believe in innocent until proven guilty. Basically, we do not know all of the facts of the case, so making assumptions on either side only hurts more people.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Proud Retired Prosecuter
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 20, 2014 at 6:08 am

Cordelia is perfectly showing us how the Salem Witch Trials and Macarthy-ism gained traction. You can defend the American Judicial System's basic principle of innocent until proven guilty without defending or supporting a single criminal. What is tremendously disturbing is how she took her assumption of guilt and turned it to accusing anyone who disagreed with her of inappropriate behavior. This was the textbook technique in Salem. If someone disagreed that Mary was a witch, they would instantly be lumped together "She must be a witch too"
The near breakdown of that early New England society was part of the reason for the development of our current system.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rich
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 20, 2014 at 8:28 am

I think Proud Retired Prosecuter pretty much nailed it. Instead of addressing legitimate concerns raised by other commentors, Cordelia has quickly moved to defame and threaten those who wish to share thoughts with which she does not agree.

I certainly empathize with Cordelia's childhood experiences. I had much worse than she described, and it wasn't pleasant. However, I am not ready to conclude that a zealous application of police and prison is the best way to deal with most forms of inappropriate behavior. That's driving a tack with a sledgehammer, and is more likely to ruin a life than correct it. There are a lot of social tools short of a person in blue packing a gun and a badge.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cordelia
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 20, 2014 at 11:06 am

While you create arguments out of thin air, the only person who was probably truly hurt was a child. The adult involved will have his day in court. There is nothing to indicate that proper procedure was not followed in this situation. Arrest logs are public records.

However, you are not arguing that proper procedure was not followed. Rather, you are arguing that the described actions merit mercy & leniency. And that's what I find truly appalling and lacking in common human decency. Women and men deserve equal protection in their pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness.

Consider the spirit of Whitman's poem:

I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hiruko parent
a resident of another community
on Aug 20, 2014 at 1:44 pm

"Since when does being charged with a misdemeanor warrant having your photo in the newspaper and career and reputation ruined? The guy should be considered innocent until proven guilty."

Did you notice that the Palo Alto police are trying to see if there are any other girls/women who want to report something similar? How else do you think the police should ask for that?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rich
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 20, 2014 at 4:35 pm

If Cordelia was addressing my arguments, then I think her straw-man doesn't quite capture what I was saying. It is, however, amusing to note that she just said that mercy and leniency are "appalling". Hmmm...

Is there no tool besides an overcrowded prison to be used to help misguided people learn the standards of acceptable behavior?

If the facts of this case are as stated in the article, then I don't think the man deserves to be in jail any more than Bill Clinton is right now. If we accept the girl's status as a minor child, I think the girl's parents, the man, and the director should have had a long and very pointed conversation, and together, with appropriate input from the "child" decided on an appropriate course of action. I could also see the girl representing herself because I see nothing magical about a couple of months one way or the other from 18 years.

Of course, there could easily be much more to the story than what was reported.

Regardless, I think we would do better to teach young people to stand up for themselves and use a variety of social tools to attain their goals. Part of that would be reaching for the government's gun a lot less frequently than we do (which country has the highest percentage of it's people in jail???)

I strongly agree with Cordelia's statement that women and men deserve equal protection. For instance, to parallel this case, I don't think that a woman who behaves suggestively at work should be subject to police action.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cordelia
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 20, 2014 at 7:41 pm

Good point, Hiruko Parent, the public and the police are bringing light to a dark corner. The truth will come out.

I think I was wrong to imagine that people who sympathize with the accused child molester had probably done something similar. Rather, they are relics from a time when men felt entitled to paw anyone who couldn't defend themselves. These old farts can try to re-label indefensible acts as "annoying" or "non-sexual". They can pretend that a 39-year-old middle-aged man just needs to "learn" how to behave and deserves special treatment. Ha! They're wasting the short amount of time they have left, because we're not going back to a time when we tolerated sexual abuse from men with power. We are not going back to a time when only women and children paid for that power with their seemingly disposable lives. When these old men die, their outdated and barbaric values will die with them. In the meantime, as the kids say in various social media sites, "Cry more! I drink your entitled male tears."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rich
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 21, 2014 at 2:22 pm

Cordelia,

I am very sorry that you must pass through life with such a burden of hatred in your heart. I suspect that it blocks any possibility of open-minded discussion. I hope you find peace.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jessica
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 21, 2014 at 5:11 pm

Wow, if people were posting hoping to push buttons enough to get Condelia to rant, mission accomplished.
+1 Rich. Really sad.


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