Karate teacher hit with new sex charges

Accused of molesting 10 students
March 31, 2008 5:04:47 PM PDT
A Long Island karate instructor accused of molesting 10 of his students and videotaping some of the acts has been charged with abusing two more minors. The 27-count indictment, unsealed Monday, against James Bonfiglio was added to the 43 charges of sexual abuse he faced when he was arrested in February.

The former owner of Excel Karate Academy in Ronkonkoma pleaded not guilty in Suffolk County Court in Riverhead and was held on $1 million cash bail.

The indictment charges him with 19 felony counts of oral or anal intercourse with a minor under 17 years of age, five felony counts of sexual intercourse with a person under 15, one count of disseminating indecent material to minors, and one count of sexual abuse of a child.

Prosecutors said the latest victims were students, and were molested as early as 2003.

His attorney, Anthony La Pinta, declined to discuss the new charges except to say, "We are sensitive to the nature of these allegations, and Mr. Bonifiglio's defense will be one that is respectable and dignified."

Bonfiglio, 37, had been free on $500,000 bond following his not guilty plea to the original charges, which included one felony criminal sexual act, as well as multiple charges of sexual abuse, possessing a sexual performance by a child, endangering the welfare of a child, using a child in a sexual performance, and unlawful surveillance.

Suffolk detectives found hours of graphic video on Bonfiglio's computer and cameras hidden in the bathroom of his Ronkonkoma apartment and karate school, police said.

He is scheduled to be appear in court on May 1.