June 21, 2018 |
A martial arts teacher is facing charges for sexually abusing female students in the basement of an Inwood apartment building, prosecutors from the Manhattan District Attorney's office announced Thursday.
Hector Bencosme, 57, was indicted Thursday on three counts of second-degree sexual abuse, five counts of third-degree sexual abuse and four counts of endangering the welfare of a child, prosecutors said. Bencosme is accused of abusing girls between the ages of 13 and 15 during martial arts lessons, prosecutors said.
Bencosme taught martial arts lessons at apartment buildings on Post Avenue and Vermilyea Avenue while going by the name Kiko Valoy, prosecutors said. Between March 15 and May 25, Bencosme allegedly sexually abused four female students at the Post Avenue building and was arrested on May 26 when two students called the police, prosecutors said.
The Manhattan District Attorney's office is now asking any more survivors to come forward and provide information to the office's child abuse unit. The District Attorney's office is a safe place to report crimes regardless of immigration status.
"Hector Bencosme took advantage of his position as a martial arts instructor to harm and abuse innocent children in Northern Manhattan," District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., said in a statement. "With three schools within walking distance of the crime scene and dozens of students enrolled in the defendant's martial arts classes, there is reason to believe that there may be additional survivors of his alleged conduct."