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Karate teacher gets year in prison for molestation charges

READ MORE: Karate teacher gets year in prison for molestation charges

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Parents fought back against the karate instructor who touched their kids at an after school program. Today those parents came face to face with John Maisenhelder as he pleaded guilty without admitting to the acts.

It's been more than a year since New Hanover County deputies arrested Maisenhelder for seven counts of taking indecent liberties with a minor and one count of sexual molestation. All of those acts took place at Maisenhelder's after school training program known as CAST.

Witnesses say the 62-year-old karate instructor touched several female students between the ages of six and 10. From 2007 to 2009 parents say Maisenhelder would put his hands under their children's clothing, kiss them on the ear and rub his fingers around their lips.

"Since this has happened, they've become bankrupt, she's lost her job, their family's been devastated. I think both sides to this ordeal are very thankful it's resolved," Maisenhelder's attorney Woody White said.

Monday Maisenhelder entered an Alford plea. That means he does not admit to the acts, but acknowledges that there is enough evidence to convince a judge and jury that he is guilty.

"John is still unsure why this has all happened to him, but given the gravity of what the allegations were, he's thankful with the resolution," White said.

A large group of supporters sat behind Maisenhelder in the courtroom, but some people who heard the evidence say he got off too easy.

"The evidence was overwhelming," concerned citizen Mike Davis said. "If taken to trial, there's no way 12 people in a box would have let that man walk."

The judge sentenced Maisenhelder to one year in prison and five years probation. Maisenhelder will also have to register as a sex offender, which means he can't have contact with anyone under the age of 18.

The prosecution says Maisenhelder would have students sit on his lap while he touched them and sometimes force them to touch him. Sheriff's deputies say several of the acts were caught on tape.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


You people don't know

You people don't know anything. John Maisenhelder was screwed out of a business and a life. If you have anything further to say about it, my address is 306 Shore Point Dr, Wilmington, NC 28411. Come and get it.

John Maisenhelder

screwed himself out of a business and a life. Put the blame where it should go. He would have just continued doing what he was doing if not caught (on video).

Not very smart putting your address out there. "Come and get it"?


"several of the acts were caught on tape." Guess you missed that part. No innocent man would take an Alford plea if he was really innocent, he would fight. Open your eyes.


Did it ever occur to any of you geniuses that the court system, the judges and lawyers, just might know a bit more about what they're doing than you do? Please list where you received your law degrees so we can establish a basis on your knowledge on the subject.

Is it possible that while holding a person's life in the balance and presented with the entire body of evidence, which none of us has seen, that maybe something was missing?

Maybe something was missing like a pattern or a single record of prior issues with the law? Maybe the judge actually took the time to look at how this 60+ year old guy was an established member of the community, having family and friends of his own with no known 'issues', while volunteering hours of time and assistance to schools and churches. How he was a veteran. How he must have come into contact with several hundred children and adolescents while successfully running his school for years without incident. And how he had worked and obtained a Master's Degree and was also a certified marriage counselor, likely to have helped save numerous marriages. Do

All said, he did not admit guilt and the judge accepted the movement for the Alford plea. Now he'll serve time. Could he be guilty - yes. Is he guilty - I'm not the one to judge that and neither are any of you. Again, please list your law credentials before you sit on the sidelines passing judgment on the fate a person's life. Lest you look in a mirror and judge yourself. Try starting there first.

John Maisenhelder

Well said. As a 17 year Karate student of John Maisenhelder's, I can say that I have come to know him well & do not believe for one second that he touched anyone inappropriately. He loves children. He loves to play with children. It brings him joy. He does not molest children.

There are several details of the case that I do not feel at liberty to share on here. However, my understanding is that the entire ordeal began with a former employee (who, two weeks later opened her own daycare program) relaying fabricated scenarios in several of the parent's minds.

In addition, the Sheriff's Department was unable to find any evidence of wrong doing on the part of Mr. Maisenhelder & have sealed the video tapes from the public, making it impossible for anyone on the outside to see what really may or may not have happened. Seems suspicious to me.

Jon David "Mr. Million Dollar Bond Man"

Unfortunate Jon David victim who has been ruined with false allegations.If you have any money or own a business watch out for money hungry Jon David a/k/a "Mr. Million dollar bond man". He only employs people he can brainwash into doing horrible things to good people. Glad the good people of Brunswick needed him so bad because his brother is only half as lethal now in New Hanover County.


I can write bad checks and get more time than this...OUR JUSTICE SYSTEM IS A DISGRACE!!!

take note of the ruling judge

in this case. Elections are coming up for some judges too. We need someone else in the seat that would put this sick b***** away for more than 1 yr.

Funny how my captcha ? to post is helter skelter


From the story: "John is still unsure why this has all happened to him,"

Umm, maybe because you don't make sexual moves on children!
Another perv goes down. Hope he worked on his karate skills because he will need them in prison.

child molester



I can not believe the first sentence of this article, "Parents fought back against the karate instructor who touched their kids at an after school program." ?? Whoever wrote this and edited it should be fired. I believe that any reputable news article should not be biased, but bias this article is.


Seems fair to say. He was convicted. They call convicted murderers "murderers" not "alleged murderers". That's not being biased.

Ummm, no...

He was not convicted; He chose to go with an Alford Plea. That does not make him guilty. That just says that the 'evidence', whether it be accurate or not, was enough to put him away for a long time.

And I agree with "Disbelief"; that was a poor way to start off an article.

Naughty Naughty

I agree with the starting of the article not being the winner of the "non-biassed award". But in regards to the Alford plea, in our country we have a mulitude of rules and regulations that help put criminals in jail, and there are some that slip through the cracks.

I personally was not there nor did I see the proposed video of the molestations, but looking at the Alford plea from a common sense point of view, It would make sense for me to plea in this regard if there was a preponderance of evidence that could convict me. That is all a decision of self preservation and stigma against any adult who is even suspected of wrong doing.(acurate or not)

But with that being said. I am not foolish enough to put children on my lap and touch inaproprietely,or otherwise. Nor do I rub the lips of any child, or do or act unfavaorbly in any manner in front of or not infront of students parents.(If this is the case)
At the end of the day, he may or may not be guilty of the crimes we did or did not witness, but HE IS GUILTY OF MORAL STUPIDTY IN CREATING A MORE THAN REASONABLE DOUBT AND NOT COVERING HIS A?*!


He got one year, i am surprised. What a shame,these kids put trust in a teacher and he violated it. The parents put trust in him also and they were cheated. I just hope that the children that this happened to are ok as their life goes on.

Apparently the allegations

were true. Based on the report, it would appear he did get a light jail term; with good behaviour, he's likely out in 7 months. No doubt, with his karate skills, he'll be safer in prison than others would be.

I believe the shortest

I believe the shortest amount of time he will have to serve is 13 months and that is with good behavior. Still, that is a very light sentence. I do understand that it is extremely hard to get these children to testify and maybe most of them said they wouldn't so the DA did the only he could. People like him sicken me


would the shortest amount of time he will have to serve is 13 months by your reckoning when the judeg sentenced him to one year or 12 months?

By no means am I defending him. But, with a 12 month sentence, and time off for good behaviour, there's not a reasonable chance he'll serve 13 months.

I heard that he was

I heard that he was sentenced to 16 months in jail, not 12...and that no matter what he will have to serve 13 months. I could be wrong, that is just what I heard.

Personally, he should get that or more for each case...actually, I would rather see Life, but I know that won't happen


Justice was not served!! The Alford plea is nothing more than not wanting to go to trial. I understand the children would have had to testify if it had went to trial,,but why would they if there were video tapes of some of the incidents??

Sounds like the superior Court fiasco in Bladen County... tsk tsk