Kalamazoo Township Karate Teacher Accused of Sexual Assault, Ordered to Stand Trial

Robert Earle Keith, 61, was recently charged with inappropriately touching three teen boys between 2009 and January of this year at his dojo, according to a news article at Mlive.com. Keith is a karate instructor in Kalamazoo Township and convicted sex offender. News reports indicate that Keith served more than 5 years in a prison in Florida for sexually assaulting students in the 1990s. angry-1039175-m.jpg

Keith faces charges which include one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, and two counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct. Kalamazoo Township Police Detective Mike Szekely testified that the alleged victims were required by Keith to join a “secret society” in order to obtain black belts, and that getting into the secret society involved pleasing your master.

Szekely also testified in court that the defendant allegedly gave one of the teenage boys Diazepam, an anti-anxiety drug, and alcohol before massaging the teen, who was naked, with oil. The three alleged victims had begun to research the karate instructor following incidents which involved inappropriate touching, and found that Keith had engaged in similar incidents with young men in Florida. In all, Keith was charged with 59 counts of sexual assault in Florida and sentenced to nine years in prison. He was on parole after being released in prison and upon moving to Michigan.

A pretrial hearing has been scheduled in the case for January 13 before Kalamazoo County Circuit Judge Alexander C. Lipsey. The defendant was released on a personal-recognizance bond, and is being monitored electronically.

The criminal penalties for second-degree CSC include up to 15 years in prison along with lifetime monitoring. Fourth-degree CSC leaves the accused individual facing fines of up to $500 and up to two years in prison if convicted. Other factors which may affect criminal penalties include the defendant’s criminal history. In many cases, those convicted must register as a sex offender for the rest of their lives.

If you or someone you know has been accused of sexual assault, rape, child molestation, or any sex-related offense, consult with a highly qualified Michigan sex crime defense attorney immediately. Swift action must be taken in order to avoid the harsh consequences of a conviction.

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