A Minnesota martial arts teacher was arrested for repeatedly having sex with one of his teenage students over several months at his home and at the studio. The teacher would also often molest the student, who told police it was "embedded" in her mind never to say no to "Master Lee," according to a report.
Hyobin Lee, 30, was charged Thursday in Hennepin County District Court with two counts of criminal sexual conduct in connection with raping the martial arts student in 2018. The student was only 15 years old then. Lee's deeds came to light only recently after the girl reported the abuse to her school district.
Teacher or Predator?
Although the abuse took place in 2018, police started an investigation only after girl reported the abuse to officials at the Scott County School District last month. She told them that the Eden Praire, Minnesota, Tae Kwon Do instructor had molested her multiple times and had "taken her virginity" in 2018, when she was his student.
The victim told investigators that she had been learning Tae Kwon Do since she was 9 years old, and had been attending the same Eden Prairie studio from the beginning. Lee began teaching at the studio in 2015 after coming to the United States from Korea.
The complaint says, beginning in 2018, Lee and the victim had sex on multiple occasions while the victim was 15. The victim, now 17, said that in 2018 Lee started picking her up at school and taking her to the martial arts class — and eventually back to his home.
Interestingly, Lee took a different approach to blackmail the victim. The victim, who addressed the accused as "Master Lee" was instructed as part of her Tae Kwon Do training that she would always have to comply with requests from someone of Lee's rank and could never say no. Lee took this opportunity to engage in sexual acts with his student.
The abuse continued till November 2018 after a new studio opened close to the victim's house and she started attending that location. Stacy Bettison, a representative of Master Moon's Tae Kwon Do, said the company "had no knowledge of any allegations until after he was arrested.
However, the repeated sexual abuse went unreported for almost two years. It was only on September 21 this year when the girl reported the incident to her school authorities. Following this police started an investigation. Lee was immediately terminated after his arrest this week.
"We were shocked and dismayed by the allegations," read a statement released by Master Moon's. "We believe this is isolated to this one student. ... We will be examining every aspect of our Eden Prairie and Shakopee studios' policies, procedures and practices to ensure that no child is ever put in harm's way in this, or any other, manner."
Lee, of Eden Prairie, was jailed this week and remains held in lieu of $500,000 bail. Court records do not list an attorney for him. If found guilty, Lee could face up to 60 years in prison.