Two former employees of Mitchell’s Martial Arts in Salisbury, Maryland
are now facing numerous child
sex abuse charges after accusations spread of their sexual misconduct with minors attending
the martial arts academy. It has been confirmed that one of the employees,
Zachariah Bennett, was terminated once the accusations came to light,
and it is believed the second, Leah Wright, was as well. At this time,
representatives of Mitchell’s Martial Arts are cooperating with
Details of the Sex Abuse Charges
Bennett is being held in Wicomico County Detention Center for 27 charges,
including first degree rape, child abuse, and more. At least two of the
three victims who have come forth so far, all aged between 13 and 15 years
old, claimed to have performed sexual acts with Bennett and to have received
text messages of a sexual nature. Bennett has apparently admitted to some
of the accusations made by two of the victims.
Wright is also being held at the same detention center for her involvement
in the incidents of sexual abuse. She is facing 21 child sex abuse charges
for allegedly participating in at least one event of sexual misconduct
with Bennett and a victim; Bennett has told investigators that Wright
knew of the sexual acts and would often be a “lookout” for
him while they were being performed.
Justice & Compensation for Victims
Although this story has only recently surfaced, statements from Bennett
seem to indicate the criminal aspects of the victim’s stories are
truthful. Families of the abused minors are now awaiting additional developments,
including possible trial dates for both Bennett and Wright.
The topic of compensation for sexual abuse victims must also come into
question. If either Bennett or Wright are convicted of at least one charge,
they could face civil lawsuits from the families of the victims, namely
pursuing punitive and nominal compensation, which would be rewarded to
the plaintiffs as punishment for the defendant’s wrongdoing and
for the plaintiff’s emotional trauma. It could also be that Mitchell’s
Martial Arts is partially liable for compensatory damages, if it is determined
that staff oversight was unreasonably lacking, or that a safe environment
for children attending the martial arts courses was not provided.
(WMDT 47 has numerous stories and updates about this case as it develops (click here to view one).
If you believe your child has been sexually abused while attending Mitchell’s
Martial Arts, you should
contact William R. Hall, P.A. and our Salisbury sexual abuse restitution and personal
injury attorney as soon as possible. With our help, you may be able to
pursue compensation to help you and your family find peace of mind again.
Call 410.205.1684 to schedule a free initial consultation.