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Former karate coach in Arlington pleads guilty to assaulting a child

Posted by Brock Parker  June 26, 2013 01:07 PM

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A karate coach who worked at a martial arts studio in Arlington has pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting a young student, according to Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan’s office.

Thomas Donahue, 53, of Lexington, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn to indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14 and enticement of a child under the age 16, Ryan’s office announced Wednesday.

Middlesex Superior Court Judge Kathe Tuttman sentenced Donahue to 2 ½ years in jail to be followed by three years of probation.

In a statement released Wednesday, Ryan said Donahue took advantage of his authority as a coach by sexually assaulting a young student and violating the trust placed in him by the victim and her family.

“We commend the victim for coming forward to disclose what happened to her and we will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute crimes committed by offenders that target vulnerable children,” Ryan said.

Donahue was arrested in August 2011 after authorities said he sexually assaulted a 7-year-old girl several times that spring while she was enrolled in his karate class at T & P Martial Arts in Arlington.

At the time, authorities said Donahue repeatedly asked the girl to stay after class to help him remove his leg brace in his office, where the alleged assaults occurred.

After each assault, Donahue would thank the girl and ask that she not tell anyone, the Middlesex District Attorney’s office said at the time. Ryan's office said Wednesday that Donahue also gave the girl candy.

During Donahue’s probation, he has been ordered to have no contact with the victim or her family, no unsupervised contact with children under the age of 16, and is not to work or volunteer with children. He must also undergo sex offender evaluation and treatment and comply with the requirements of the sex offender registry, according to Ryan’s office.

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