Texas karate instructor sentenced to life in prison for child sex abuse

Richard Griffin. (Courtesy of the Hays County Sheriff's Office)

Richard Griffin. (Courtesy of the Hays County Sheriff’s Office)

HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — A Texas man recently was sentenced to life in prison plus 20 years on charges of child sex abuse and possession of child pornography.

After a two-week trial, karate instructor Richard Griffin, 65, was convicted by a Hays County jury of continuous trafficking of a person and 63 counts of possession of child pornography.

Griffin was arrested in July 2014 after the victim told her parents that she had been in a sexual relationship with him for about a year and a half, beginning when she was only 14. According to witnesses, the girl had been a student at Griffin’s karate studio.

According to the Hays County Sheriff’s Office, Griffin developed a relationship with the girl’s family and began lavishing attention on her. After the parents cut off contact with Griffin, HCSO says Griffin provided the girl with cell phones to communicate in secret.

The child described several secret meetings with Griffin, including sneaking out of her house to see him, meeting with him after school and pretending to go to a friend’s house so Griffin could pick her up to go somewhere private.

Detectives from the Comal County and Hays County sheriff’s departments recovered evidence confirming allegations, including cell phone data, DNA, thousands of dollars Griffin had given the victim, and dozens of sexually explicit photos of the victim.

After deliberating for less than three hours, on June 6, the jury found Griffin guilty of continuous trafficking of a person — a charge in reference to having transported and enticed a child with intent to commit sexual offenses.

According to HCSO, when Griffin was arrested, evidence was found that he had been texting a 12-year-old girl in a similar manner.

Griffin received a life in prison sentence for the trafficking offense and 10 years in prison for each child pornography offense.

Criminal District Attorney Wes Mau, who assisted the prosecution, said: “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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