Local News

Martial Arts Instructor Charged With Statutory Rape

Posted January 3, 2008

— A fired martial arts instructor in Wake County faces charges that he had an inappropriate relationship with a student.

Investigators said tae-kwon-do teacher Joseph Gailes is accused of having sex with a 15-year-old girl.

A search warrant detailed an alleged relationship between the 31-year-old instructor and a student, including a sexual encounter in a hotel room during a Durham martial arts tournament in September of last year.

"It's like finding out there's a potential predator in your family. I've known him for almost 10 years,” said Michael Wegmann, master instructor at Vision Martial Arts.

According to the search warrant, the girl said Gailes bought her gifts throughout their relationship that included underwear from Victoria's Secret. The warrant also stated that Gailes bought underwear for another juvenile student.

“It's kind of like being a school teacher, occasionally you will find a bad one out of a thousand,” Wegmann said.

Gailes had been an instructor at Vision Martial Arts in Fuquay Varina for seven years. The popular instructor was suspended after allegations surfaced that he was having an inappropriate relationship with a student.

Parents received a letter about Gailes termination after an investigation was launched last February. He has since been charged with three counts of statutory rape.

Parents at Vision Martial Arts declined to comment Wednesday night.

“Some at first did not believe the allegations. Some are taking it far more seriously these days, since he's been arrested,” Wegmann said.

Gailes was being held in the Wake County Jail on a $100,000 bond.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • AliceTheAnarchist Jan 5, 2008

    for you to lash out as you did on the other commenters was an extremely immature and uncalled for act. For someone who would like to represent tkd in a positive way, you aren't doing such a great job. The ATA is supposed to be a prime example of the community's finest and assuming you're in the ATA since you seem to be so knowledgeable about it, again, you're not really putting out the greatest example.

  • thebeastfromtheeast1729 Jan 4, 2008

    I am a member of ATA and have been a student in both Apex & F-V I was a student of Joe's and Mr. Wegmann. I think that too much has been said already most by people that only know part of the true of just hear say. I think it's time to stop talking and let's move forward. There is enough blame to place on all parties and every one needs to take ownership to make sure the future is better. ATA is a fine organization but Vision Martial Arts could learn a valuble lesson in putting the students first and focus less on the $$$$$ - That's where
    Mr. Wegmann falls very short - he runs a black belt wholesale house for anyone with a big enough check book. Things like this don't happen when you care about the students not the dollar sign. Martial Arts black belt should be earned not bought. ATA = ATM deep in your wallet. Thanks

  • AliceTheAnarchist Jan 4, 2008

    Chin-up, your analogy concerning the steakhouse is invalid because the ATA studio did not shut down. Secondly, not everyone in the studio should be so quick to believe the statements made about Mr. Gailes. Innocent until proven guilty, remember? Thirdly, fifteen years old is hardly a child these days. Just because the law says 18 is an adult does not mean that until the day we turn 18 we still think like children. The girl should be held accountable for her actions. Lastly, I'd like to remind everyone that people who are accused of actions like these are still people. Think about how you'd feel if you were accused of this. People are so quick to believe the bad things about others, but hardly willing to give them a chance.
    One final thing, that picture hardly does him justice, as should be well-known by now, the media misconstrues a lot. Remember this when you are so quick to believe everything you read.

  • poohperson2000 Jan 4, 2008


    Mr. Gailes should have never had ANY friendships or ANY contact with his students outside of the school. Master Weg. knew he did activities outside of Taekwondo with these students and should have MANADATED Mr. Gailes to stop. Mr. Gailes was a mentor, but he was also in a paid position (paid very well probably) and he and Master Weg were running a business where they demand hefty prices for rheir services. Mr. Gailes left himself open to this (wether guilty or not) to the situation he is in.

  • Forbidden Fantasy Jan 4, 2008

    If anyone was smart they would call the child protective services on her parents because they let it happen.

  • Forbidden Fantasy Jan 4, 2008

    i dont know how mas wegmann could see joe as family because if my family comes to me in desperation and hurt i am there for them and try to help them the best that i can. he he didnt. joe was his best man, he was at mas weg's mother's deathbed with him, picked out his clothes for him before events, consoled him and his wife during there differences, and every night before joe went to bed mas wegmann would call him and talk to him about everything that happened and was on his mind that day. When joe came to him seeking help and advice he only would make a joke of it saying "than they will have to pay more for those kind of services" instead of protecting him like joe did for mas wegmann, and everyone at that. once again i am a first hand witness at all of this. joe did seek help, no one helped him like he helped them.

  • Forbidden Fantasy Jan 4, 2008

    as for him, he was seeking and is still seeking help about this. its not something he even sees as right.
    he first, tried to seek help from his employer master wegmann and of no avail he saught it from the other students. like, he was never left alone in the academy because female parents and students tried to engage with him.
    as for master wegmann as an employer he is making himself look like (with joe being guilty or not) "i hire these kind of people" because if i were a parent this is what i would see.
    If master wegmann really cared about his kids (meaning students) he wouldnt have even allowed them to video them for there protection because this is overwhelming for them to handle as children anyway. Him to even talk on the news, degrades his company should stand for and doesnt promote it at all.
    Mas Wegmann knew about all of it as it happened and chose not to help or console joe at all. from a first hand witness i have only witness mas wegmann trying to harm him and not help.

  • Forbidden Fantasy Jan 4, 2008

    First, i am not here to judge anyone or say whether his actions were right or wrong. because no matter what happened they both made the decision and it wasnt forced upon at all. I can honestly say that i know both of them and their character you should know these things: her parents supported and were encouraging and insisting their daughter to persue a relationship with him, and her parents were in that same hotel room that they slept in at that very same tournament, when he wanted to be by himself at home, they pressured him to go to vegas with their family. While he was there they were introducing him has her fiance and taking pictures of them together. he got uncomfortable, so after they went home he began to distance himself from them so this is when it hit the judicial system.
    about her parents, they knew and supported it. they would get upset when he wouldnt spend time with them, and they encouraged him to drink at their party than wanted him to spend the night..he went home.

  • madsam642003 Jan 4, 2008

    3) Why is it there hasn't been a followup on this story? this seems like a very large community issue and there hasn't been an update since 7:23 yesterday morning. Why is it that only wral is covering this story and no other local outlet is, or national for that matter. This is something that should be brought to everybody's attention. Regardless of what martial arts studio somebody goes to, parents should never be fully relaxed about the instructor and this is why. Please keep your guards up with regards to your kids at all times. I could go on and on but i only get 1000 characters and well, im sure that i could have phrased things better but again, limited space. Plus i don't even know if anybody is going to find what i say valuable. I do hope to hear more about this, especially a few of the things that i have read on here about facts coming out and based on things i have heard that i won't duscuss.
    God bless

  • Chin-up Jan 4, 2008

    ....I know who you are and have heard all about your program....

    Oh please do elaborate... I can't wait to hear who you THINK I am and what you know about my program(s). Is it my national team I developed to give kids an opportunity to participate in martial arts who can't afford it? Or is it my National competition team training program? Or perhaps it is one of my seminars that helped your kid get to the level he is possibly at. Really I am interested to see what you have to say about me personally since you "know who I am". I will put my credentials, accomplishments, goals, and reputation on the front page, I have NOTHING to hide. So if the local steak house went out of business, and the one next door said I am sorry you folks lost a steak house, but you can eat great steak here for a fraction of the cost, would they be slinging mud too, or just letting the community know they can still get great service?