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Georgia Karate Schools Sued for Sexual Abuse

By Lisa M. Schaffer, Esq. on January 03, 2019 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Following on the heels of a 2015 conviction for sexual child abuse, the survivor and her family are now suing the owners and staff of Pak's Karate school where the sexual abuse took place.

Thomas Ary, the Pak's instructor found guilty of sexually assaulting a female student while at a Pak's summer camp, is serving 19 years in jail for the offense. Ary is named in the suit as well as Song Ki Pak, "grandmaster" of Pak's Karate, and Craig Peeples, former Pak's Karate CEO, master black belt, and instructor. The negligence suit says claims the karate facilities "failed to implement even the most basic institutional safeguards" to protect students, which created an opportunity for sexual abuse to occur.

Pak's Karate Allegedly Didn't Even Background Check Instructors

A place such as Pak's, offering lessons to children, is considered an invitee under the law. As such, owners and operators of the store are required to provide a certain duty of care to its students, including a safe sport environment. According to plaintiffs, the defendants didn't provide this. They did not conduct background checks, nor have any employee training or formal policies in place regarding appropriate instructor-student interaction and behavior.

The suit also claims that not only were there no policies in place to safeguard against sexual abuse, but that the environment actually created an opportunity for it, with only one instructor in charge of over 45 students.

Former CEO Accused of Multiple Acts of Sexual Child Abuse

Around the same time of Ary's conviction, Peeples was being accused of sexually abusing seven former male students that were teens at the time of the abuse, almost 20 years prior. That suit accused Peeples of committing hundreds of acts of "ongoing and pervasive sexual abuse" against the students when they traveled and trained under Peeples. Though Peeples claimed his innocence, just one year prior, the local district attorney had felt there was enough evidence to investigate the accusations, including witnesses attesting to "multiple acts of sodomy, aggravated sodomy, aggravated child molestation, and sexual battery against multiple victims." Ultimately, no charges were brought because the statute of limitations had expired. It's possible such evidence could be used to establish negligence by Peeples.

If you or someone you love has been sexually abused and you are interested in filing a civil lawsuit to compensate for pain and suffering, contact a local sexual abuse attorney to discuss your case.

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