Affidavit: Owner of martial arts school acknowledged inappropriate behavior

Buchen. (Source: CCDC)
Buchen. (Source: CCDC)

WEST ASHLEY SC (WCSC) - The owner and chief instructor of a Lowcountry martial arts school accused of sexually assaulting two of his students acknowledged that it was inappropriate for him to massage one of the victims, according to newly released court documents.

James Michael Buchen of Mount Pleasant was given a $300,000 bond on charges of second-degree sexual conduct with a minor and third-degree sexual conduct with a minor.

During Buchen's bond hearing on Wednesday, the victims spoke out saying Buchen was once like a father figure until he took advantage of them.

The girls said they are speaking out because they don't want anyone else to go through what they have.

Multiple other girls on the martial arts team were present with their families during the hearing.

Buchen is not allowed to have contact with children without an adult present and he cannot have contact with the victims.

An affidavit released on Wednesday states that during a phone call on Tuesday between one of the victims and Buchen, Buchen acknowledged massaging the victim during camp and knew it was inappropriate.

"He also acknowledged she was young at the time of the incident," court records states.

According to authorities, the victim said she was intimidated by Buchen and afraid to tell anyone what happened to her.

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.

Copyright 2018 WCSC. All rights reserved.