Child sex case filed against karate studio
Instructor & supervisor there face recent allegations
Charges include making child porn & molesting boys
Teacher is in custody after being arrested & charged
SNAP: “Others with knowledge & suspicions must speak up”
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, child sex abuse victims and their supporters will:
--announce the filing of a new civil child sex abuse lawsuit against a karate studio and one former and one current employees there, and
--beg anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered child sex crimes there to call police.
Wednesday, July 31, at 1:15 p.m.
Outside 3 Tigers Martial Arts Studio, 2630 Mascoutah Ave. (corner of Green Mt. Road) in Belleville IL
Two-four members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, including a man who is the organization’s long time director
The parents of a seven year old boy are suing a karate instructor, his supervisor and a martial arts studio for alleged child sex crimes that reportedly occurred for nine months (May 2012 - February 2013) at Three Tigers Martial Arts Studio in Belleville IL.
Christopher M. Horton (age 20) of Highland, Illinois, faces multiple federal and state criminal charges including sexual exploitation of a child, predatory criminal sexual assault, and aggravated criminal sexual abuse. (Case number 13-CV-30042-DRH in US District Court, Southern District of Illinois). He was arrested in February 2013, was indicted in March 2013, and is in federal custody awaiting trial (being held without bond on the federal charges and on a $5 million bond for the state charges).
If convicted, Horton could face up to 30 years in prison for each count and a fine up to $250,000.
His supervisor, Kevin Gaugler (who also lives in Illinois and still works at Three Tigers), faces no criminal charges but is a defendant in the civil suit because he managed the studio during the abuse.
After an unnamed person saw images of Horton’s sex crimes with boys on Horton’s cell phone, Horton was questioned and arrested. He confessed to abusing kids.
The suit says that the boy will “suffer further anxiety wondering. . .for the rest of his life. . if any of the images of his exploitation were posted on the internet.”
The suit also says that Horton was “in a position of trust, confidence, respect, and authority over minors,” “befriended (the boy),” “gained the trust and confidence” of his parents, and spent “substantial periods of time” with the child. According to the suit, Horton “performed sex acts on (the boy) and forced him to perform sex acts on him” at the studio.
SNAP is urging anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes at the studio to contact law enforcement. Specifically, the group is begging parents whose children spent any time at the studio – or at other Three Tigers’ locations - to ask their youngsters if they were touched or hurt. (There is one in Swansea at 216 Frank Scott Parkway, 618 530 5942). The studios are part of a national chain.
The specific counts in the civil suit include battery, negligent failure to supervise, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The alleged victim is represented by St. Louis attorneys are Ken Chackes (314 369 3902, firstname.lastname@example.org) and Nicole Gorovsky (314 872 8420, email@example.com). The federal prosecutor is Steven Wigginton (618-628-3700, 618-439-3808, 618-482-9361). SNAP does not know who the defense attorneys are (in either case).
The civil suit seeks unspecified damages and a jury trial in St. Clair County Circuit Court.
David Clohessy (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris (314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell)