SAN JOSE — A martial-arts instructor in San Jose has been arrested and charged with repeatedly sexually assaulting a girl under his supervision, and police say they are exploring the possibility there could be other instances of abuse given his access to children.
Ernest Joseph Ramirez, 54, of San Jose, was charged this week with eight felony counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child under 14, based on crimes spanning August 2019 and June 2021, according to a criminal complaint filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court .
Ramirez was arrested June 9 and booked into the Elmwood men’s jail in Milpitas, where he is being held without bail, records show. The complaint specifies that the reported victim was between 11 and 13 years old when the alleged assaults occurred.
A San Jose Police Department report states that Ramirez’s accuser, who is now 14, has since moved to Ada County, Idaho. She confided in her father that Ramirez sexually abused her at Extreme Martial Arts, his San Jose studio. The report states that the girl’s mother enrolled her in Ramirez’s after-school program, which was held during the COVID-19 pandemic school closures and allowed students to conduct online learning at the Elm Street studio, then have martial-arts training afterward.
Police wrote that at one point, the mother asked Ramirez to counsel the girl after becoming concerned about material she was viewing online. Earlier this month, the girl told reportedly told her father and investigators in Idaho that she and Ramirez had multiple sexual encounters between 2019 and 2021 in his studio’s office, as she progressed from sixth to eighth grade.
That prompted a coordinated investigation between the Ada County Sheriff’s Office and San Jose police, who obtained and served a search warrant for Ramirez’s studio. Police served the warrant June 9 and arrested Ramirez, who denied the warrant and therefore declined to speak to detectives in detail without an attorney. The police report includes a transcript of undercover text messages between Ada County investigators and Ramirez, in which a detective posed as the girl and sought to get him to acknowledge the alleged sexual relationship.
But in those text messages, Ramirez did not incriminate himself and evaded the detective’s messages asking about him and the girl having sex. The transcript shows he remarked on how inflammatory her texts were and refused to validate them, asking her to “stop this” in multiple instances.
San Jose police say they are exploring the possibility of other instances of abuse, and potentially more victims, based on Ramirez’s lengthy time spent supervising minors.
According to investigators, students taking part in the after-school program went to Trace Elementary School as a pickup point for transport to the studio, located about two miles northeast. In statements to this news organization, the San Jose Unified School District acknowledged that its students participated in the after-school program, but noted that it was not officially associated with the school or district, and that Ramirez was not a district employee.
Anyone with information about the against Ramirez, or other similar incidents, can contact Detective Jose Montoya of the San Jose Police Department at 408-537-1382 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tips can be left with Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers at 408-947-7867 or at svcrimestoppers.org.