Bond set for Mt. Pleasant karate instructor arrested again for assault and battery

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A judge set a surety bond of $10,000 for a Mount Pleasant martial arts instructor Friday morning.

James Buchen was recently re-arrested and accused of second-degree assault and battery.

New court documents indicate that Buchen asked the victim to walk to his car after class. After that, the report details how he supposedly held her tight, groped her and rubbed himself up against her.

"All the things he did to me were so wrong," the victim said in bond court Friday. "I never want anyone to have to experience the same things."

Several people showed up in support of both the defendant and the alleged victim.

"He has never been in trouble before," Buchen's attorney Alex Toporek said in court today. "He has absolutely zero criminal record."

The new bond comes after he was booked in jail earlier this month and accused of sexually assaulting two of his students. The bond concerning the preliminary charges was set at $300,000 on charges of second-degree sexual conduct with a minor and third-degree sexual conduct with a minor.

A background check on Buchen revealed that prior to the previous sexual assault accusations from two weeks ago, his record was clean.

That's why former teaching partner of eight years Justin Watchendorf was so surprised.

"I believe their integrity and I would never believe them to make up anything," Watchendorf said. "Their pain was going through my mind.

Previously released court documents show Buchen acknowledged that it was inappropriate to massage one of the victims. According to authorities, one victim said she was intimidated by Buchen and afraid to tell anyone what happened to her.

Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center executive director Carole Swiecicki said there are several signs parents should watch out for in regards to incidents of assault.

"Parents can look for changes in their child's behavior as a possible sign that the child has experienced abuse," Swiecicki. "If they were happy and kind of enjoyed going to an activity, and suddenly they're seeming much more withdrawn and sad and now wanting to go, changes in those behaviors can be an indicator to the parent that something has happened."

Swiecicki also said parents should understand that sometimes the only sign parents can pick up on is the child telling them.

If your child suffers from a case of abuse, Swiecicki recommended you contact the Dee Norton center. She said the center has programs and resources that can help children and their families during difficult times.

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