SPRINGFIELD — An instructor who formerly worked at a Springfield martial arts academy has admitted to sexually assaulting a 13-year-old enrollee there, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace Park announced yesterday.
Appearing before state Superior Court Judge William Daniel, George Mendoza-Valentino, 28, of Saddle Brook pleaded guilty Thursday to a charge of second-degree sexual assault.
Mendoza-Valentino had been arrested in November 2014 following a joint investigation by the Union County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit and the Springfield Police Department, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor David Hummel, who prosecuted the case.
That investigation revealed that Mendoza-Valentino met the victim when she enrolled at the Springfield A.T.A. Martial Arts Academy branch and sexually assaulted her there multiple times during the weeks leading up to his arrest, Hummel said.
The investigation also revealed that Mendoza-Valentino sent the victim sexually explicit images and videos and requested that she do the same.
Mendoza-Valentino has remained lodged in Union County Jail on $125,000 bail since his arrest. Sentencing in the case has been scheduled for Feb. 20, at which time he is expected to receive a term of up to 10 years in state prison and subsequently remain under parole supervision for life as a registered sex offender under Megan’s Law.