Karate Instructor Charged With Sex Crimes Involving Teenage Students

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — A 61-year-old Kalamazoo sex offender was in court Thursday, charged with sex crimes involving three of his teenage karate students.

Police say Robert Keith used martial arts training as an excuse to engage in inappropriate behavior with at least three teenagers in a dojo he was operating out of his home in the 500 block of Nazareth.

Keith was charged in 8th District Court with one count of second-degree and two counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, which carry a combined potential jail sentence of 19 years.

Police say the alleged incidents happened during martial arts training.  There are currently three victims, ages 15, 16 and 17, but police say there may be others. They are asking anyone who thinks they may have been victimized or have any more information to contact them.

Those who knew Keith say they never expected this and in part don’t believe it. They say he’s kind and always around to help and even told them about the allegations.

In court Thursday, Keith’s lawyer says he contacted him back in July when police started their investigation. He said Keith told police he would surrender if a warrant was put out for him.

Despite three previous convictions involving minors, Keith was released on a personal bond and ordered to wear a tether.

In a newspaper article dating back to 1997, it said Keith was the former owner of ‘Bob Keiths Karate Center’ and the allegations surrounding him were from former students.

His next court date is Nov. 13.

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