Karate instructor Jonathan Vega of Pembroke Pines, Florida was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly kissing a 12-year-old student after a class. Vega, 22, is charged with one count of lewd and lascivious behavior on a child and is being held on $50,000 bond. News sources did not name a private attorney for Vega.
According to the arrest report, the alleged incident took place on January 3 at Pembroke Pines Premier Martial Arts school on 17503 Pines Boulevard. Vega and the student had reportedly been communicating on social media before he allegedly kissed her. The student claims he told her that he wanted to have sex with her when she was older.
Vega purportedly told the victim not to save their conversations and to change his name in her phone’s address book. After class on January 3, he allegedly followed her into a backroom and asked if he could kiss her. She agreed and they kissed, the police report said.
Vega initially denied the allegations when he was questioned by police, saying the victim kissed him. He later reportedly admitted to officials from the Department of Children and Families (DCF) that he did kiss the victim and that he asked her to change his contact information to hide their relationship.
He also allegedly told investigators that he had a relationship with a 14-year-old girl when he was 18, and that the matter was handled by their families. He confessed to being “attracted” to children and said he does not trust himself around them. He said he may require therapy because he feels he won’t be able to resist children in the future, investigators said.
Vega was fired from the martial arts school when the allegations came to light. His mother, Monica Abelo, tried to defend him when speaking with news sources on Wednesday.
“I’m trying to help my son, this is the first time this has happened to him,” Abelo told the press. “He has a good record, he is a good student, person, citizen, he recently graduated from FIU as a mechanical engineer.”
Another incident involving sexual behavior between a teacher and a teenage student was reported in Delray Beach earlier this week. Yoga teacher Keith Steven Fox was arrested on Tuesday for engaging in a sexual relationship with a student when she was 15 years old.
Fox, 58, is charged with sexual battery on a victim older than 12 but under 18 years. He was taken to Palm Beach County Jail. It is unclear if he has acquired the services of a lawyer.
According to the arrest report, Fox is the owner of Buddha Lounge Yoga Studio and the teenager was his student. The victim’s mother noticed that the older man spent a lot of time alone with her daughter and he collected her for lessons at all times of the day. She hired a private investigator to observe Fox’s interactions with her daughter.
The private investigator discovered that Fox and his student smoked cannabis together. In June 2016, the PI reported seeing Fox and the teen in the nude, touching one another in a sexual manner.
When police questioned the teenager about her relationship with Fox, she said he was like a mentor to her and they had a “father/daughter” relationship. She said her relationship with Fox had began in February and that they had engaged in sexual activity on more than one occasion during private yoga lessons at his home.