Broward County

Karate teacher accused of kissing child now, wanting sex later

Jonathan Vega is accused of lewd and lascivious behavior with a 12-year-old.
Jonathan Vega is accused of lewd and lascivious behavior with a 12-year-old.

Pembroke Pines police say 22-year-old Jonathan Vega admitted to them he’s attracted to children and doesn’t trust himself around them.

That admission took place when the karate instructor was being questioned about amorously kissing a 12-year-old student who also said Vega told her that he wanted to have sex with her when she got older.

Vega is in Broward County jail on one count of lewd and lascivious behavior on a victim between 12 and 16 years old. His bond is $50,000.

Court and state law enforcement records indicate this is Vega’s first arrest. Police say he told them when he was 18, he had a relationship with a 14-year-old but “the matter was handled within the families.”

According to the probable cause affidavit, Vega taught at the Pembroke Pines location of national chain Premier Martial Arts. The video equipment there wasn’t working on the day in question.

The child told police she and Vega began having Snapchat conversations during which he said he wanted to kiss her and have sex with her when she was older, but wouldn’t do anything without her permission.

He asked for permission to kiss her, the child said, when they were alone at Premier Martial Arts one January night. After she said yes, they kissed mouth-to-mouth, closed-lipped.

Vega also told her, she said, to keep their conversations quiet. He told her don’t save them, change his name in her contacts list and don’t tell anyone about them, directions police say he admitted under questioning.

The child told a friend about the kiss later the same day it happened. Police say under questioning about the kiss, Vega went through stages. First, denial. Then, he claimed the child initiated it. Finally, he said he didn’t ask permission before they kissed.

Vega allegedly made the admissions before saying he “didn’t think” he had thoughts of engaging in sexual activity with children, but “feels he may not have the strength to resist another child.”

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal