Karate Instructor Admits Molesting Boy - NBC 7 San Diego

Karate Instructor Admits Molesting Boy



    Karate Instructor Admits Molesting Boy

    A La Mesa karate instructor accused of sexually abusing a teenage boy over a one-year period pleaded guilty Wednesday to all 29 felony charges, including committing lewd acts on a child.

    Eric Dylan Protas, 38, who had been free on $800,000 bail, was ordered into custody without bail. Initially, he faced four charges of oral copulation and sodomy with a minor. Prosecutors later added 18 more charges.

    No plea bargain was made in this case.

    Prosecutors alleged that Protas had sexual contact with the now 14-year-old boy about 300 times.

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    The boy testified in court that the first time the pair had sex was at a sleepover the night before a class trip to go and play paintball.

    "It took me awhile to understand -- I did not understand the clues that he was giving me, but he said that maybe if we wrestled, something would come out," the now 14-year-old told the court in October.

    The alleged victim also testified he would spend every day with Protas, who he said was like a father figure to him.

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    "At first it started real slow, maybe once or twice a week, and then it began more frequent[ly], maybe five or six days a week almost every time," the teen told the court.

    The boy said Protas would make him feel guilty if he did not comply.

    Protas compared himself to Jesus and his teen accuser to Judas on a Facebook page, according to prosecutors. They also said posted encourage others to intimidate the accuser.

    On the day Protas was arraigned, close to 100 people showed up outside the San Diego County courthouse in El Cajon in support of the karate instructor. They called him a "wonderful man" and a "role model."

    Supporters created a Facebook page "Head Instructor Eric Protas is Innocent" and were soliciting donations for his defense fund.

    Protas faces 48 years in state prison when sentenced on April 28.