Today in Jacksonville, six alleged victims of childhood sexual abuse announced they are suing their former martial arts instructor decades after the alleged abuse occurred.
The suit would have impossible before a new Georgia law went into effect.
Six men, ages 30 to 37 introduced themselves in Jacksonville Thursday in front of a wall of martial arts trophies and medals. They and another man are filing suit against Craig Peeples, a former instructor they say sexually abused them for years while they studied at Pak’s Karate school in Camden County, Georgia. Two of the former students live in the Jacksonville area.
Children’s advocate and law professor Marci Hamilton says the men are filing a civil suit because of Georgia’s statute of limitations on criminal prosecution.
Hamilton said, “This is the only way to get their story out and it’s the only way to warn all of those parents out there.”
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation found the men’s allegations to be credible last year, but because they are now older than 23, the state could no longer prosecute Peeples. Partially as a result of the Peeples’ case, the Georgia Legislature passed the “Hidden Predator Act,” giving victims two years starting last month to file civil suits against abusers regardless of their age.