Gilbert martial arts instructor accused of having sex with 15-year-old student
GILBERT, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- A Gilbert martial arts instructor is accused of having sex with a 15-year-old student and ex-employee three times over a course of several months. According to detectives, 22-year-old Dyllon DePalma is an instructor and employee at DePalma’s Team USA Martial Arts studio. Investigators say DePalma had known the girl since she was eight years old and he was 15.
In Oct. 2022, DePalma asked the teen to work for him at the martial arts studio to run the front desk. The two reportedly had sex while she was working at the studio, and then DePalma fired her the next day. However, the two continued talking and keeping in contact with each other. In Dec. 2022, DePalma picked up the teen from her home and drove her to his house. Court paperwork says the two drank and had sex, and DePalma asked to see the victim’s phone to delete his number. Once the victim got home, she messaged him on Facebook Messenger, and the two continued talking and sent explicit photos to each other.
On March 2, court paperwork says the two had sex a third time when teen girl snuck out of her bedroom window and met DePalma down the street from her home in Queen Creek. The next day, the victim messaged DePalma and asked him to buy her a Plan B pill. On March 10, the victim called DePalma, and he denied getting the victim pregnant, but admitted he knew she was underage, police said.
DePalma was taken into custody on Saturday at his Gilbert home. Court paperwork says he admitted the girl was a former employee of his and said he was her instructor at the karate school. He reportedly denied having a sexual relationship with the girl, claiming he was never alone with her and she never went to his house. He was booked on three counts of sexual conduct with a minor.
DePalma faced similar allegations two years ago. In Nov. 2021, police received a report that DePalma asked a 13-year-old girl for nude photos despite knowing her age. He was a karate instructor for DePalma’s Team USA Martial Arts at the time.
The Gilbert Police Department is encouraging any additional victims to come forward, and anyone with information about the case can call its nonemergency line at 480-503-6500, reference DR 23-37115.
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