Yoga instructor Keith Steven Fox was arrested on June 13 for allegedly engaging in an inappropriate relationship with a teenage student. He faces charges of sexual battery on a victim older than 12 but under 18 years. He is being held without bond at Palm Beach County Jail. News sources did not list a private attorney for Fox.
According to the police report, Fox, 58, is the owner of Buddha Lounge Yoga Studio and the victim was his student. Her mother reportedly noticed that Fox spent a large amount of time alone with her daughter and he would often pick her up for lessons at unusual hours. To confirm her suspicions of wrongdoing, she hired a private investigator to look into her daughter’s interactions with Fox.
“She had a suspicion and she didn’t know if it was enough to call law enforcement and so she wanted somebody else to confirm that suspicion,” Delray Beach Police Department spokeswoman Dani Moschella told the press.
The private investigator reportedly discovered that Fox and the teen smoked marijuana together. In June 2016, the investigator confirmed seeing the older man and the victim naked and engaging in sexual contact.
Police became involved in July 2016. They interviewed the teen about her relationship with the yoga instructor and she reportedly said that Fox was like a mentor to her and they had a “father/daughter” relationship. She said her interactions with Fox began in February 2016 and that they engaged in sexual activity, including intercourse, on more than one occasion during private yoga sessions at his home.
“At least once the victim alleges there was inappropriate sexual contact between this adult and herself,” Moschella said. “Anytime you have an adult who’s in a position of power, like a teacher, any type of sexual battery would be an abuse of that power.”
Police interviewed Fox regarding the accusations, but he refused to provide them with a formal statement. He agreed to provide a DNA sample in September; the sample is reportedly being used as evidence in the case.
The teen was reportedly under 16 when the relationship began. The age of consent in Florida is 18, but there is a “young adult exception” that allows teens aged between 16 or 17 to legally engage in sexual activity with someone aged 16 to 23.
Sexual battery is one of the most aggressively prosecuted crimes in the state and it carries severe penalties. It is committed when someone has vaginal, anal, or oral contact with another person without their consent using their sexual organ or an object. The penalties for the charge are determined by the age of the victim, the age of the offender, or the presence of aggravating circumstances.
A sexual battery conviction carries a lot of social stigma. A person convicted of the crime is declared a sex offender and must comply with sex offender registration laws in the country for the rest of their lives.