New Jersey martial arts instructor in court to face charges of sexual assault of 13-year-old girl

A martial arts instructor in Springfield is expected to appear in Wednesday to face charges of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old student of his academy, according to a police announcement Friday.

George Mendoza-Valentino, 27, apparently met the victim when she enrolled at the Springfield A.T.A. Martial Arts Academy branch. He sexually assaulted her at his academy multiple times in the last month, according to a prosecutor.

An investigation also revealed that Mendoza-Valentino sent the victim sexually explicit images and videos and asked her to do the same, the prosecutor said.

Mendoza-Valentino was arrested at the martial arts academy on Morris Avenue shortly after 7 p.m. on Thursday. As of Friday, he remains in Union County Jail.

"This investigation was a collaborative effort between our department and the prosecutor's office," police Chief John Cook said. "We greatly appreciate their assistance in apprehending a person who had been entrusted with caring for juveniles in his role as a martial arts instructor."

Cook encouraged anyone else who may have been a victim to come forward.

Mendoza-Valentino, of Saddle Brook, has been charged with second-degree sexual assault and both second- and third-degree endangering the welfare of a child.

State Superior Court Judge Joseph P. Donohue set bail at $125,000 and ordered that Mendoza-Valentino surrender his passport and refrain from contacting the alleged victim in any way.

Anyone with information about this matter or any related incidents should contact Union County Prosecutor's Office detective Stephen Carro at 908-965-3890 or Springfield Police detective Danielle Kahora at 973-912-2246.

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