Additional Charges Filed Against Karate School Owner

HIGHLAND PARK — A karate school teacher has been charged with sexually assaulting two 15-year-old girls, Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan and Highland Park Police Chief Stephen J. Rizco announced today.

Joel A. Levy, 43, of Highland Park, allegedly assaulted one of the victims on various occasions between Oct. 25, 2009 and Jan. 29, 2010, while the other girl was allegedly assaulted on numerous occasions between December 2001 and May 2002.


Authorities said that the new charges were filed as the result of an investigation by Investigator Daniel Ruschak and Investigator Lisa Collins, both of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, and Detective Nicole Young. The investigation began after police learned that the two girls allegedly had been victims of Levy.

Levy, owner of The Family Martial Arts Academy in Highland Park, was previously arrested on March 10 on a charge of criminal sexual contact, a fourth degree offense. In that case, he was accused of improperly touching the 16-year-old girl at his karate school on March 7. He subsequently was released after posting $10,000 bail.

After the new charges were filed, Levy posted $125,000 bail and was released.

Levy also had been employed at New Brunswick High School as a teacher overseeing students serving in-school suspensions. He had worked for the school district since November 2010. In addition, he has worked as a teacher in Edison, Highland Park, Perth Amboy, Somerset and Franklin Township.

Authorities are asking anyone with information on these, or similar incidents, to call Ruschak at 1-732-745-3600, or Young at 1-732-572-3800.

Authorities noted that as is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Levy are merely accusations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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