News

Palo Alto martial arts instructor arrested for allegedly trying to kiss a minor

DA files misdemeanor charge against co-founder of Hiruko Wellness

Police have arrested an instructor from a martial arts studio on Middlefield Road in Palo Alto for allegedly attempting to kiss a longtime student and part-time employee when she was 17 years old. Police are now releasing the information to find out if additional victims exist, though they are currently unaware of any other victims, according to a department press release.

Mountain View resident Jorge Alberto Tejada, 39, self-surrendered to the Santa Clara County Main Jail on a misdemeanor charge of annoying or molesting a child on the morning of Thursday, Aug. 14. He had been an instructor at Hiruko Wellness at 2741 Middlefield Road and taught the victim taekwondo since she was 11 years old, police said. According to the studio's website, he co-founded the center with Executive Director Natalia Gabrea Tejada.

Police learned of the alleged incident this May, when the victim – who is now an adult – called police to report what had happened. She told officers that she had been taking classes from Tejada for years and had also become a part-time employee at Hiruko Wellness. In late 2013, when she was 17, she told police that Tejada put his arms around her and held her close to him while they were alone inside the studio. He then took her face in both of his hands and attempted to kiss her, police said. She repeatedly pulled away until he let her go.

After investigating the incident, police presented the case to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office, who filed the misdemeanor charge. Police obtained a warrant for Tejada's arrest on Aug. 4; he self-surrendered 10 days later.

Police encourage anyone with information to come forward by contacting the department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to paloalto@tipnow.org or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through the police department's free mobile app, downloadable at bit.ly/PAPD-AppStore or it.ly/PAPD-GooglePlay.

Comments

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Posted by Wondering?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 19, 2014 at 10:21 am

So what are we supposed to make of this matter?

At one level, we're left wondering why the young lady involved didn't immediately call the police? Did she tell her parents? Did she continue to work at this business, or did she quit? Did she tell the co-owner? Why did she wait so long to notify the police? Does she have any corroborating evidence?

What is going to make this situation that isn't a "she said/he said?"

And what about the business. Will they have any statement to the public about what happened, and what they plan to do to insure that nothing like this happens again?


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Posted by Google took me here
a resident of another community
on Aug 19, 2014 at 11:42 am

So are men supposed to ask "May I kiss you?". Do people have to sign a contract before kissing? How does this work? He let go when she rejected. Is kissing a minor even a crime? A lot of high school teens should go to jail then.


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 19, 2014 at 12:08 pm

"Wondering", there does seem to be large amounts of information missing from this story. Like how "forcible" the man was when he tried to kiss the girl and what specifically happened. Did he do anything like that again. Did he do that with other girls. Did he expect of use his physical strength to intimidate or coerce?

>> He then took her face in both of his hands and attempted to kiss her, police said. She repeatedly pulled away until he let her go.

This sounds like an assault to me, on a minor as well, so I have to assume our police and DA are as professional and thoughtful and I believe they are and gave thought to this before they went forward.

I confess, I was a bit puzzled by a basic story that goes - man tries to kiss girl. That's bad, depending on what the reality is, was, but why is that bad enough to post this guy's picture and ruin his life?

Is this a sexual assault, sexual harassment? My understanding is that for sexual harassment the victim must be clear and say do not do this AND the behavior must happen again ... but that is with words, I do not think this is covered by what amounts to an assault, even if brief and not resulting in physical injury, after all he may have been trying to just intimidate this girl to go along. Bravo to the young lady for standing up for herself!

Where is the level of something that is a concern and is legally actionable? So, I have to assume there is much more to this story than is being released and can be stated at this time. I certainly hope they would not destroy someone's life for a one time idiot move if it did not results in permanent damage of whatever sort.

I imagine this case hinges on whether this man did this with other women and what happened. The police probably had to evaluate this girl's claim and weigh that possibility that Palo Alto has a child rapist in its midst and go looking for corroboration, against the damage to this man. If this was a one time crazy outburst it's bad enough, but for public safety, I say good call Palo Alto Police.


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Posted by Responding
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 19, 2014 at 12:13 pm

Kissing a minor is a crime if you are an adult, not if you are a minor yourself. Adults (male or female) should know that it is not okay to kiss an employee who works for them or a student of theirs.

The article also says "She repeatedly pulled away until he let her go." It doesn't sound like he let go when she rejected.

I don't know the victim, but can assume that after taking lessons from an instructor from 11 years to 17 years, that she trusted him. I can imagine that there's doubt and fear that prevented her from reporting it immediately to the police. As for reporting it to the co-owner, I know the two co-owners were married at one point, not sure about now.


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Posted by Hermia
a resident of Triple El
on Aug 19, 2014 at 12:36 pm

Also please notice it's a misdemeanor charge of annoying or molesting a minor, not a sexual assault charge.
Of course we don't have the full backstory, it's not at trial yet.
Sounds to me like they weighed the charge pretty carefully, and it suits the description of events, insofar as we know.


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Posted by Spiderman
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 19, 2014 at 1:05 pm

I know Jorge and I never heard or knew he be that type of person, but who knows. I just hope he didn't do what he's been charged with. The bad thing is that if he proves in the court of law his innocent hell always have that in his record and ruin his career. Yet I also hope the girl not to be gone through this as I have a daughter and I be pretty upset and mad. Who knows how I would of reacted.


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Posted by Hiruko Member
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 19, 2014 at 3:47 pm

My kids have been going to Hiruko for three years and I cannot say enough about how wonderful the program is. Despite the scandal, I'll still send them. Natalia and Jorge are both super positive people and Jorge has always struck me as a very proud father and he and Natalia share a passion for teaching martial arts. If the allegations are in fact true, this is very sad for everyone involved and I suspect this is a case of a momentary lapse in judgement, rather than some kind of predatory act. It's no excuse given the responsibility of a much older, married man who was the girl's instructor and employer. If the allegations are true, then everyone is left feeling a little disillusioned.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by cid
a resident of another community
on Aug 19, 2014 at 5:23 pm

cid is a registered user.

He was 39 and she was 17. They were alone. He came on to her.

To me, that's CREEPY.

End of story.


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Posted by rick
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 19, 2014 at 7:25 pm

rick is a registered user.

Bogie and Bacall


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Posted by KarmicToad
a resident of Los Altos
on Aug 19, 2014 at 9:26 pm

KarmicToad is a registered user.

Well, gee, cid... Let's take him out back and be done with it then... After all, you seem to have convicted him already!

It is far too early to jump into this. And, it is worth noting that even if this allegation is true, it is still a misdemeanor. By definition, this isn't a particularly serious crime. In fact, I'm surprised that it has gotten as much press as it has. If true, the I agree that it is creepy, but it is still a misdemeanor and even at that it is far from a done deal.

So, no... there is far more than just "End of story" here. But, here is a suggestion... If you are on a jury, you should probably recuse yourself as it doesn't appear as though you have an interest in hearing any sort of facts.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Alice Schaffer Smith
a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 19, 2014 at 10:57 pm

Alice Schaffer Smith is a registered user.

Having been accosted by my manager as a new employee at IBM at aged 22, completely unwanted and unexpected, I can tell you that this was a traumatic and awful experience. And I was 22. Imagine being 17. Everyone is not the smarmy sophisticates that some think young adults are.


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Posted by ImTheBeeKnees
a resident of another community
on Aug 31, 2014 at 10:07 pm

ImTheBeeKnees is a registered user.

I've known Jorge and Natalie a long time, almost 16 years. And honestly Jorge is an amazing man who taught me a lot, and someone who I have always looked up to as a role model. My years learning tae kwan do from him changed my life - he was a strict instructor who truly cared about his students. Even if this accusation is true (although it is hard for me to believe) I would say it was a momentary lapse in judgement. Whatever it was, I feel like this is a huge deal to publish this article so early. We are all human, and we all make mistakes. Does one mistake define who we are? No. If you meet him, if you look at his life, his goals, and his achievements, those things show he is a good person, those things show the type of person he is. Who knows what actually happened, but it is clear from this article that he wasn't trying to hurt her. I understand her side too, if she was emotionally hurt/scared/uncomfortable, she has the right to feel that way, and the right to report him, and I'm proud of her for standing up for herself (even if he made her feel that way unintentionally, she has the right to decide how she feels and how she wants to act on those feelings). However, I don't think it was fair to publish this. Being accused is punishment, being arrested is punishment, going to court is punishment, not to mention how much we punish ourselves when we feel guilty after we know we have made a huge mistake. Now even if he is proven innocent, this article will follow him. And this article not only punishes him, but his family. His wife and kids don't deserve this, this accusation puts enough stress on them without having everyone knowing and asking about it.


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Posted by rick
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 31, 2014 at 10:40 pm

rick is a registered user.

@BeeKnees, congratulations on bringing this weeks-old story back to the top of the list.


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