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Charleston karate teacher James Buchen granted bond from arrest on child sex abuse charges

James Buchen (Al Cannon Detention Center)

A Charleston-area karate instructor accused of sexually abusing two former students faced a Charleston County Judge Wednesday afternoon.

James Michael Buchen, 45, was granted a $300,000 surety bond after Buchen was arrested and charged Tuesday on two counts of criminal sexual conduct of a minor.

Buchen is accused of molesting two former students of his own martial arts school.

The two victims spoke at Wednesday’s bond hearing. They asked the judge to set a high bond and issue a no-contact order. Both those requests were granted.

Affidavits provided by Charleston Police states Buchen molested the two girls, both 15 at the time, while they were attending his martial arts camp during the summer of 2013.

“This man is someone I viewed as a father figure that I’ve known since I was 10-years-old and I feel like in every sense he took advantage of that,” said one of the women. “It’s challenging to be here today and I feel like what has mostly gotten me through, sharing my story and coming to this point now has just been for the sake of all my teammates.”

They both gave tearful explanations for coming forward five years later.

“This man was a father figure in our lives, as well as our teammates lives and it was really hard going against him because he’s so engrained in everything we had to do,” said the second victim. “As far as karate goes and as far as outside of karate goes, he was implanted in every part of our lives.”

Buchen did not say much in court, but occasionally leaned in as the women were speaking.

No one spoke on Buchen’s behalf. He is married with two kids.

The judge ordered Buchen to not have any contact with the victims or any minors, other than his own children, without adult supervision.

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