San Jose karate instructor arrested in connection to sexual assault of a minor

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 .

Ernest Joseph Ramirez, 54, of San Jose, was charged this week with eight felony counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child under 14, according to a criminal complaint filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court. (San Jose Police Department)

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.

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