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This article was published 15/12/2016 (1814 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A Winnipeg martial arts instructor faces several years in prison after admitting he sexually abused three of his students.
King Yeung, 57, pleaded guilty in court Wednesday to a total of five sexual exploitation and sexual interference charges involving three female victims who took lessons as teenagers at Kang's Taekwondo Academy on McPhillips Street.
The former students came forward last spring with allegations Yeung had sexually assaulted them over a period of several years while he was their instructor.
He admitted this week to having sexual intercourse with two of the victims and sexually touching all three of them, starting off by buying them gifts and affording them special privileges at the taekwondo academy. In each case, Yeung started fondling the girls when they were 13 or 14 years old, sometimes waiting until they were on overnight trips attending out-of-town tournaments.
Yeung bought porn for two of the victims, one of whom was a ward of Child and Family Services and "essentially viewed him as a father figure," Crown attorney Katie Dojack said. Between 2009 and 2010, he had sex with her even though she told him to stop.
One of the victims was abused by Yeung starting in 2001, three years after she joined the academy. He started fondling her when she was 13 years old, court heard.
"She debated telling her parents, but he essentially said that she would not be welcome to go on trips or participate with the taekwondo academy if she did," Dojack said.
By the time she was 16, Yeung was having sex with her at the academy several times a week.
A third sexual exploitation victim, who pretended to be asleep while Yeung fondled her during a car trip, was eventually asked to leave the academy "as she indicated she fell out of favour with Mr. Yeung," Dojack told court.
Yeung is expected to be sentenced next year, when Crown and defence lawyers will recommend appropriate penalties to the judge. The range of sentences for a serious sexual assault on a minor by a person in a position of trust starts at four years in prison.
Yeung's defence lawyer, Matt Gould, said in court that his client could face a sentence in the neighbourhood of 10 years.
"A trial on this matter could have taken years to proceed through the court system," Gould said in a statement. By pleading guilty, he said, "King Yeung chose to take responsibility for his actions without the need for any of his victims to testify in court."
Yeung was initially charged with sexual offences relating to a fourth victim, but the Crown has chosen not to proceed with those charges; the alleged offences happened between 1985 and 1989.
Katie May reports on courts, crime and justice for the Free Press.