Charges: Eden Prairie taekwondo instructor raped student multiple times

The charges say that as part of the sport, it's embedded into a student's mind that they "always must comply."
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hyobin lee

An Eden Prairie taekwondo instructor is accused of raping his teenage student multiple times in 2018.

Hyobin Lee, 30, of Eden Prairie, is charged in Hennepin County District Court with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct in connection to the rape of a student when she was 15.

Lee was arrested Monday and is being held in jail on $500,000 bail, jail records show. He is scheduled to make a court appearance on Thursday afternoon. 

According to the criminal complaint, Lee began training the victim at Master Moon's Tae Kwon Do in 2015 – she referred to him as "Master Lee" both during and outside of class.

The term "Master" in taekwondo is the classical Korean way to indicate an instructor has acquired a high level of knowledge and skill (like a master gardener or master plumber), and the term is "in no way intended to suggest that the instructor has control over a student or that the student is to act subservient to the instructor," Master Moon's Tae Kwon Do told BMTN in a statement. 

The charges say, "As a part of taekwondo, it is embedded into a student's mind that you do not say 'No' to someone of [Lee's] taekwondo rank, you must always comply."

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In 2018, Lee began offering the victim rides and would pick her up from school and take her to classes, charges state.

In July 2018, Lee, who was 29, picked up the victim, who was 15, and took her to his home, where he sexually assaulted her for the first time, and then brought her to taekwondo class, the complaint says. 

The assaults happened the same way "several more times," with the charges noting Lee also sexually assaulted her in the bathroom at the taekwondo studio. 

In November 2018, the victim left the Eden Prairie location to train at a studio closer to her home, ending any interaction she had with Lee, charges say. 

The victim in September of this year told a former instructor at the Eden Prairie taekwondo studio about the sexual assaults, charges say. The witness, who is a mandatory reporter, told Eden Prairie police about it on Sept. 21. 

That witness said Lee is still the lead instructor at the Eden Prairie studio, where he said the taekwondo hierarchical system of doing things for your Master when asked was taken too far at the studio – people felt like they "needed" to do what the Master asked or they'd get into trouble, the complaint states.

Master Moon's Tae Kwon Do has locations in Eden Prairie and Shakopee, according to its website

In a statement to BMTN, it said: 

"Hyobin Lee has been a trusted instructor for five years, and we were shocked and dismayed by the allegations. He is no longer employed by Master Moon’s Tae Kwon Do. We believe this is isolated to this one student. Our thoughts and prayers go out to  the student and family who brought these allegations to light.

"The safety of every child in our care has always been – and will always be – the number one priority of our studios. We will be examining every aspect of our Eden Prairie and Shakopee studios’ policies, procedures and practices to ensure that no child is ever put in harm’s way in this, or any other, manner."

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