Kung fu expert testifies: Students don't touch instructor
12:49 AM, Feb. 3, 2012 |
A Buddhist fighting monk testifying at the sexual-abuse trial of Ossining kung fu master Frank DeMaria said his students are taught to hit the groin of an attacker but not to touch their instructor.
“I would not let them make contact with me,” said Shi Guo Lin, the head of the U.S. Shaolin Temple in New York City. “Every move, I explain how it would be applied.”
Guo Lin, who taught martial arts in China, was a defense witness Thursday in Westchester County Court, where DeMaria is facing felony sex charges. Four young girls alleged that they were instructed to fondle their 68-year-old instructor in class.
DeMaria, a retired Westchester County police officer who ran the American Center of Chinese Studies in Croton-on-Hudson, is accused of having the girls, ages 6 to 11, repeatedly grab and squeeze his groin between November 2009 and January 2011.
The move, called a “tiger claw,” is supposed to be a quick strike. But prosecutors say the girls were told to keep their hand on DeMaria’s genitals for a minute or two as he gyrated behind them. Two adult students reported his actions to police.
DeMaria is charged with two counts each of second-degree course of sexual conduct against a child and first-degree sexual abuse, all felonies, as well as four misdemeanor counts of child endangerment.
Guo Lin, one of the highest-ranked kung fu instructors in the nation, testified that he met DeMaria nearly 20 years ago and considers him a good friend. Photos of the pair and information about Guo Lin are featured on DeMaria’s website.
Wearing a traditional embroidered Chinese shirt and speaking through a Mandarin interpreter, Guo Lin said the “tiger claw” move was among the basic kung fu moves. He said young students may accidentally hit their instructors while practicing but are not taught to do it on purpose.
When asked if reaching behind and squeezing an attacker’s ***** was a legitimate kung fu move, he replied, “Each teacher teaches their own style.” However, he said holding the move for a minute was improper.
Under cross examination, DeMaria said he allowed children to practice groin strikes with him but maintained there was no direct contact. He said young students would sometimes hit his inner thigh or abdomen because “their accuracy is terrible.”
He told the jury that he was disgusted by the allegations of sexual abuse, which he described as “deplorable” and “revolting.”
When defense lawyer Andrew Quinn asked if any student ever held and squeezed his genitals, DeMaria replied, “That’s a privilege for my wife.”
All four girls testified against DeMaria, as did adult witnesses, police officers, a child sexual abuse expert and a Massachusetts martial arts instructor who disputed his methods.