Owner of Lowcountry martial arts school accused of sexually assaulting students

WEST ASHLEY SC (WCSC) - The owner and chief instructor of a Lowcountry martial arts school has been arrested and accused of sexually assaulting two of his students.

The Charleston Police Department arrested 45-year-old James Michael Buchen of Mount Pleasant on Tuesday.

He was charged with criminal sexual conduct with a minor second-degree and criminal sexual conduct with a minor third-degree.

Investigators say between June 24, 2013 and July 5, 2013, the two victims, identified as two 15-year-old's, attended martial arts camp through Buchen Martial Arts on Leinbach Drive.

According to a police report, after lunch, participants typically watched movies and rested.

"One afternoon one of the victims was resting in the back half of the room when Buchen approached her and put her head in his lap," CPD officials said."He began to massage her shoulders and then put his hands down her shirt and beneath her sports bra."

Police say the second 15 year-old victim told police that one afternoon during camp the suspect sat next to her, put his hands down her pants and then her underwear and touched her inappropriately.

"Both victims began taking karate lessons from the suspect when they were about 10-years-old," police said.

The investigation is ongoing.

Buchen was locked up at the Al Cannon Detention Center where he is scheduled to have a bond hearing on Wednesday.

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