Local News

Martial Arts Instructor Charged With Statutory Rape

Posted January 3, 2008 12:11 a.m. EST
Updated January 3, 2008 7:23 a.m. EST

— 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.