Karate teacher sentenced to 4 months for sex offense

He had pleaded guilty to fondling three boys


March 30, 2001|By Maria Blackburn | Maria Blackburn,SUN STAFF

The former owner of a Westminster karate school was sentenced yesterday in Carroll County Circuit Court to four months in jail for inappropriately touching three boys younger than age 14.

Carlos D. Bedoya, 36, began serving his sentence at the Carroll County Detention Center yesterday.

In accordance with a plea agreement made in November, Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. sentenced Bedoya to 10 years, with all but one year suspended. After four months in the detention center, the karate instructor and former owner of Westminster Karate Academy on Old Westminster Pike will be on home detention for eight months, followed by five years of probation. He must register with the state as a sex offender and have no unsupervised contact with children younger than age 18 and no contact with the victims and their families.

Bedoya pleaded guilty to three counts of child fondling last fall in exchange for a sentence of no more than 18 months at the detention center.

David Irwin, Bedoya's attorney, used three character witnesses to attest to the Westminster man's trustworthiness and honesty. One of the witnesses, a former student named Brian Aldrew, called Bedoya "one of the most important people in my life."

But Deputy State's Attorney Tracy Gilmore said Bedoya's status as a role model among his students called for the maximum sentence. "These kids loved him," she said. "He was important in their lives and he betrayed that."

Only one of Bedoya's victims, a 10-year-old boy who was abused in April, was present at the sentencing. Another victim - a 22-year-old man who was abused from June 1991 to February 1992 - lives in California.

The Sun does not publish the names of sexual abuse victims who wish to remain anonymous.

As the 10-year-old victim slumped in a chair with his head down, his mother made an emotional plea to Burns on her son's behalf, asking that Bedoya receive at least some time in jail for his crime. Since the incident, she said, her child has had "screaming nightmares" and was unable to spend a night by himself in his room for five months.

"He is not the same child that he was," the mother said. "I will never get him back." Although she forgave Bedoya for what he did, she said a sentence that involved home detention instead of jail time was "like being sent to your room only after you get caught again."

In sentencing Bedoya, Burns said, "I suppose the most significant thing I heard here this morning is the perception this young boy will take out of this courtroom as a result of what happened to him."

Afterward, the mother said she was "fine" with the sentence and "deeply appreciative" of Burns.

"This isn't a lesson in the theory of the justice system, this is real," she said. "I wanted [my son] to know that if you stand up for yourself that the system will work," she said.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.