After police charged a karate teacher in the Poconos with raping a young student the owner of the karate school in Monroe County and those who attend it are coming together to raise awareness for child sex abuse.
Students at Pocono Crimson Dragon Karate School near Mount Pocono were there for a lesson, not in karate but in coping.
The children and their parents are coming together to talk about child sex abuse after an instructor at the school was charged with raping a young student.
“Unfortunately something bad had to happen, but it really sparked a fire under me and my school and my parents to really prevent it in the future. So I think we`re really making something good out of something bad,” said Pocono Crimson Dragon owner Anthony Gilbert.
Stephen Rementer, 27, of Tobyhanna is now heading to trial on charges he raped a 12-year-old girl he taught.
While the abuse did not happen at the karate school, Gilbert wants to make sure his students have a way to deal with the situation, and learn from it.
“Awareness, that`s what we`re promoting here, awareness so it doesn`t happen in our school or community again is really our ultimate goal,” Gilbert added.
Tish Rothenbach is a speaker for the rape abuse and incest national network and has two kids who attend Pocono Crimson Dragon.
“Personally it affected me greatly because of the fact that he did teach my kids karate, he was very involved in their lives. It also affects me personally because I`m a survivor of sexual abuse and that`s why I`m so passionate about RAINN and events like this where we can come together and truly educate the public and truly educate our children that we have the authority to say no to people,” said Rothenbach.
“I think that in every place that we send our children that they need to learn that they need to be able to look out for people who potentially could abuse them. They need to know that sadly, no place is safe. There is no really safe place, but we can encourage them by them learning safe techniques. We can encourage them by actually being honest with our children and not covering up sexual abuse, which is what we’re doing here. We are not going to cover it up, we are going to speak out about it,” Rothenbach added.
Parents said they hope the session teaches their children valuable lessons.
“Just being aware of good feelings and bad feelings, just being aware of people around them,” said parent Carmine Corridore of Tobyhanna.
“If they ever suspect that someone might even be thinking about something like that with them, that they would come to me or to somebody that they respect in the community to get the help that they need,” added parent Michelle DeMarsh of Tobyhanna.
People with the karate school said dealing with the abuse allegations has brought them and the community closer together.
One local business also donated 600 blue ribbons for child abuse awareness and prevention.
As for Stephen Rementer, he is locked up in the Monroe County jail. No trial date has been set.