The co-founder of a martial arts studio that was once located in Palo Alto was convicted of rape on Friday, a Santa Clara County prosecutor said.
Jorge Alberto Tejada, 41, was found guilty of one count of felony forcible rape for a 1993 attack on his then-15-year-old female cousin, a Santa Clara County Superior Court jury in San Jose found. He faces a minimum of three years and a maximum eight years in state prison and remains in custody without bail, Deputy District Attorney Chris Lamiero said.
Tejada was working at Ernie Reyes West Coast Martial Arts in Mountain View in 1993 when he committed the rape. The business was offering free introductory lessons and his cousin decided to try the classes. After the studio closed, Tejada, who was supposed to give her a ride home, took her into a back room, where he assaulted her, Lamiero said.
She did not tell police about the attack until October 2014. Although the case was reported 21 years after the fact, it moved forward because of a statute-of-limitations extension, Lamiero said. Such extensions are granted when there is violence against a minor and corroboration of similar crimes committed by the defendant.
That corroboration came from two women who testified that Tejada had sexually attacked them at two separate martial arts studios in Palo Alto in 2000 and 2014.
In the 2000 case, the witness -- who previously dated Tejada from when she was 15 years old but was no longer dating him -- was working as an instructor at the Ernie Reyes studio. By then the studio had moved from Grant Avenue in Mountain View to Middlefield Road in Palo Alto.
While she was undressing in a changing room at the studio with the door closed, Tejada entered. The victim told him to get out, but Tejada allegedly shoved her against a wall, pushed against her and kissed her, she testified, according to Lamiero.
A second witness testified that Tejada had allegedly molested her in late 2013 at Hiruko Wellness, a studio he co-owned that was located at 2741 Middlefield Road in Palo Alto. (The studio moved to Second Street in Los Altos in March 2016.)
The witness said that Tejada had been her taekwondo instructor since she was 11 years old. When she was 17 and also a part-time instructor at the studio, he allegedly put his arms around her and held her close while they were alone inside the studio. The witness told police that he took her face in both of his hands and attempted to kiss her. She repeatedly pulled away until Tejada let her go. She reported the incident to police in August 2014.
Palo Alto police arrested Tejada in August 2014 for that incident, and he faces a misdemeanor charge for annoying or molesting a child. The case is still pending, Lamiero said.
Tejada's behavior went well beyond kissing, however, the 2013 witness testified at the rape trial earlier this month. She alleged that Tejada also molested her during therapeutic massages, putting his hand down her pants and up her blouse and rubbing himself against her.
Lamiero said the DA's office decided to file a misdemeanor charge for annoying or molesting a child rather than a more serious felony because prosecutors felt it was provable beyond a reasonable doubt.