Arlington karate teacher accused of abusing girl, 7

The DA said Thomas Donahue, 52, repeatedly asked the girl to stay after class to help him remove his leg brace. The DA said Thomas Donahue, 52, repeatedly asked the girl to stay after class to help him remove his leg brace.
By Travis Andersen
Globe Staff / August 26, 2011

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A Lexington man was arrested yesterday, accused of sexually assaulting a 7-year-old girl several times while she was enrolled in his karate class, authorities said.

Thomas Donahue, 52, is accused of assaulting the girl during the spring and summer at T&P Martial Arts in Arlington, said the office of Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone Jr.

Donahue repeatedly asked the girl to stay after class to help him remove his leg brace in his office, where the alleged assaults occurred, said a statement from Leone’s office.

After each incident, authorities said, Donahue would thank the girl for helping him and ask that she not tell anyone what happened.

Donahue is scheduled to be arraigned today in Cambridge District Court on a charge of indecent assault and battery on a child under age 14.

It was not immediately known yesterday whether he had hired a lawyer.

His relatives either did not return messages or declined to comment when reached by phone.

A call to T&P was not immediately returned yesterday. State records identify Donahue as the company president.

Donahue is a fifth-degree black belt and, according to the website for T&P, teaches “Shotokan Karate, kick-boxing, ground-fighting and self-defense with humor and style in a large, well-equipped space with a separate observation area for parents.’’

The site describes Donahue as “an accomplished magician, [who] often entertains students with jokes, magic tricks, and balloon animals,’’ as well as guest magicians.

He offers instruction to students ages 3 to adult, as well as a birthday party package with karate games and magic, according to the site.

Donahue was arrested yesterday without incident during a traffic stop near the Arlington-Lexington line, the statement said.

Authorities are urging others who believe they may have been victimized by Donahue or who know a potential victim to call Arlington police at 781-643-1212.

Leone decried the alleged assaults in yesterday’s statement.

“These are troubling allegations where a coach is alleged to have taken advantage of his position by sexually assaulting a young student, violating the trust placed in him by the victim and her family,’’ he said. “We commend the victim for coming forward.’’

In the same statement, Police Chief Frederick Ryan said the Arlington Police Department would conduct a “timely, sensitive, and thorough investigation’’ of any additional complaints.

Travis Andersen can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.