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Wimberley karate instructor sentenced for child sex abuse, porn

CONVERSE, Tex. (KTSA News) — A 65-year-old Wimberley man was sentenced to life plus 20 years in prison for trafficking a person and possessing child pornography.

The Hays County Sheriff’s Office said Richard Griffin was arrested in July 2014 after a child victim told her parents that Griffin had been having a sexual relationship with her for about a year and a half when she was only 14 years old.

In court, witnesses testified the victim has been a student at Griffin’s karate studio in Wimberley.

Griffin developed a relationship with the victim’s family and started giving the girl extra attention.  The family stopped contact with the karate instructor, but he provided the girl with cell phones to communicate privately.

The sheriff’s office said the victim shared that there were secret meetings with Griffin.  Some of these meetings involved sneaking out of her house, meeting after school and pretending to go to a friend’s house to engage in sexual activity.

Investigators from the Hays County Sheriff’s Office and the Comal County Sheriff’s Office recovered one of the cell phones the victim has been using with Griffin, as well as thousands of dollars he had given her, DNA from the victim on sex toys in Griffin’s home and travel trailer, and dozens of dirty photos of the victim on his phones and computers.

Griffin was convicted Thursday of Continuous Trafficking of a Person, which the sheriff’s office said was in relation to Griffin transporting and enticing the girl for committing sex crimes.  He was also convicted of 63 counts of possessing child pornography.

He was sentenced Friday by the judge to life in prison plus 20 years for the crime.  During the sentencing phase, the Hays County Sheriff’s Office said the judge heard additional evidence, including the fact Griffin had been communicating with a 12-year-old girl in a similar way he had been seducing the victim.

“I’m pleased with the performance of all the law enforcement personnel who worked on bringing this case to its just conclusion. Not just ADA Gillis, who spent countless hours interviewing witnesses, reviewing evidence, and preparing for trial, but also Comal County Sheriff’s Department Detective Danny Dufur, Hays County Sheriff’s Office Sergeants Lenny Martinez and Mark Opiela, and many other officers, forensic scientists, child advocacy workers, and victims assistance personnel who made a successful prosecution possible,” Hays County criminal district attorney Wes Mau said in a statement.  “Most of all, I want to recognize the victim’s courage to come forward and face Mr. Griffin in court. Based on the evidence we have, I have little doubt that she saved Mr. Griffin’s next victim from suffering the same fate.”

 


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