Tag: martial arts sexual abuse

Robert Franco Horowitz Law

Pembroke Pines Taekwondo Instructor Robert Franco Arrested For Hidden Cameras in Bathroom

On Friday, August 6, 2021, Robert Franco, a martial arts instructor in Pembroke Pines, surrendered himself to the Broward County Jail after a warrant was issued for his arrest. According to Pembroke Pines police, Robert Franco, ago 64, allegedly placed hidden cameras in the restroom of his academy, Master Franco’s Taekwondo Academy, located at 11090 Pines Boulevard.

Investigators reported that on July 29th, 2021, a 17-year-old female student of Franco’s noticed two hidden cameras inside of picture frames on a shelf in the bathroom of his Taekwondo academy. The student took pictures of the hidden cameras and then confronted Robert Franco, who then destroyed the picture frames and hidden cameras. The student then called her father and told him what happened. He quickly came to the academy and called 911.

Authorities arrived within the hour and began their investigation against Franco, searching through a seized phone and computer. Police said the content they have obtained thus far included video of children and adults. Authorities believe the cameras had been in the restroom since March when Franco took over the academy. 

According to the Local 10 News report, Franco gave an explanation for having the cameras, but police said that explanation was not reasonable. The Pembroke Pines police ask anyone who attended or visited, or whose children attended or visited, Master Franco’s Taekwondo Academy and used the restroom to come forward.

“The cameras were certainly positioned in such a fashion that not only was the level of trust violated but so too was their level of privacy,” said Adam Feiner with the Pembroke Pines Police Department. He also added that the police department fully anticipates more victims to come forward and need the communities to help to do so.”

Franco is facing multiple charges of video voyeurism and was charged with tampering or fabricating physical evidence. Franco’s bond was set at $20,000.

Our attorneys are experienced in representing victims of child sexual abuse in civil lawsuits. If you or someone you know was a victim of child sexual abuse, please contact our law firm at (888) 283-9922 or send an email to sexual abuse attorney Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com.

joao da silva jiu jitsu arrest

Owner of Davie Jiu Jitsu School Arrested for Sexual Misconduct With Minors

Joao Walter Da Silva, the owner of a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu school in Davie has been arrested for sexual misconduct involving two teenage girls.  Da Silva has been charged with three felony counts of lewd or lascivious molestation and one count of sexual assault on a minor.  He is currently being jailed without bond.   Mr. Da Silva , age 34, is the owner and instructor at Raiva Brazilian Jiu Jitsu located at 8234 W. State Road 84 in Davie, Florida.  Raiva Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has been in business since March 2015.

A 13-year-old girl told Davie police she took classes at the school for almost three years and had been sexually touched by Joao Da Silva about three times a week after class beginning when she was 10 years old.  Da Silva would reported touched her breast under her bra.   A 15-year-old girl, who was in the same class, told Davie police that she had also been similarly touched by Da Silva at the Jiu Jitsu school. Law enforcement is encouraging any other victims to report their incidents.  Hollywood Police Department is investigating the case of a 17-year old potential victim.

Sadly, it is not unheard of in the martial arts world for students to be coerced into having sex with an adult or to be propositioned to have sex in order to receive a martial arts promotion.  Some recent case include the following:

A Worcester County jury has found 26-year-old Zachariah Bennett guilty of sexually abusing three teenage girls while he was an instructor at Mitchell’s Martial Arts in Salisbury.

A martial arts instructor is accused of touching a 13-year-old girl inappropriately during summer camp in Fairfax County.

Four Accused Sue Taekwondo Champion Brothers for Alleged Sexual Abuse

Like other industries, the the martial arts community includes a full spectrum of people – good, bad, and those in between.  These are despicable acts and the offenders should be held accountable for their behavior, regardless of whether the offender is the business owner, main instructor, assistant instructor, or another student.

We have seen cases in which offenders intimidate victims to force their silence about the abuse or threaten to harm the victim or the victim’s family or a friend if they make a disclosure.  Impressionable students and parents of students under the age of 18 need to be aware of the methods offenders may use to exploit them.  This includes grooming in which the offender befriends and gains the trust and confidence of a child and his family before ultimately betraying that trust.  Understand that no child, or adult for that matter, is completely immune from becoming the prey of an abuser.

Horowitz Law is experienced representing children who are victims of sexual misconduct by coaches, trainers, and other adults involved in youth athletics and other youth programs.  If you or a loved one was sexually abused, raped or sexually molested by a youth coach, team leader, team administrator or sports team member, contact our law firm at (954) 641-2100 or send an email to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com