A Cambria Heights martial arts instructor has been charged with sexually attacking two of his tae kwon do students, the Queens district attorney said last Thursday.
Queens DA Richard Brown said Paul Edwards, 35, the owner of Edwards Tae Kwon D o Academy at 201-06 Linden Blvd. in St. Albans allegedly sodomized one boy and sexually abused the other in separate classes.
Edwards, who lives at 232-11 Linden Blvd. in Cambria Heights, is charged with sodomy, sexual abuse and forcible touching and endangering the welfare of a child, Brown said. If convicted of the charges, he could face up to 25 years in jail.
The defendant is alleged to have preyed upon two youngsters, whose parents had entrusted them to his care, and sexually attacking them when he was supposed to be teaching them self-defense skills, Brown said. As a result of the defendants conduct, the victims have lost their childhood. Hopefully, they are able to recover over time from the deep trauma that they have suffered.
According to the district attorneys office, Edwards allegedly sexually abused one boy, now 12, from August 1999 through February 2002. The DA said Edwards attacks consisted of oral sodomy, forcible sexual touching and sex abuse.
Edwards allegedly attacked the second boy, who now is 13, from January through May 2002, the district attorneys office said. He is alleged to have forcibly touched the boy sexually through the boys clothing.
Most of the alleged incidents took place at Edwards Tae Kwon Do Academy, the DAs office said.
Edwards is being held pending his arraignment in Queens County Criminal Court.
R.L. Black, president of the R.L Black Income Tax Service, which is two doors down from Edwards Tae Kwon Do Academy on the store-lined block, said Edwards appeared to be a solid member of the community.
The only thing he did was to take kids on picnics and keep them off of the street, he said. All he did was help the kids in the neighborhood.
Black said he never saw a child with Edwards late at night and there were no complaints from parents or from the people in the community since the shop opened around 1989. He said Edwards has never caused any trouble on the street.
But Black questioned why was Edwards arrested and charged with a crime when there are 2,000 to 3,000 priests around the country who have admitted to sexual abuse of children and are not locked up?
Because he was a black man, he said, answering his own question. In most cases, a black man is considered guilty until proven innocent even before they go to a grand jury. You are guilty whether or not you are.
Reach reporter Adam Kramer by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.
©2002 Community News Group
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