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Martial arts instructor sentenced to prison for recording children in changing rooms

A 32-year-old man who taught TaeKwondo summer camps for kids was sentenced recently to five decades behind bars after several of his victims discovered he was secretly recording them. 

When reports of his behavior were made to police in 2021, detectives executed a search warrant at Erik Chen's home and found hundreds of thousands of images of child pornography stored on his electronic devices, according to a press release from the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office. .

Chen was ordered Friday to serve 50 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections by a Douglas County judge. He will also be required to register as a sex offender once he is released. 

Eric Chen 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office

Chen worked as a TaeKwondo instructor at at Han Lee's TaeKwondo Academy in Aurora when the first report of errant behavior was made in February 2021. A father told investigators that his two daughters found Chen's cell phone recording them while they were changing clothes in the Lone Tree Recreation Center's changing room. The victims said they deleted the videos from the phone. Aurora Police Department investigators were unable to arrest Chen at that time partially due to a lack of evidence, per prosecutors.

However, more reports rolled in. Castle Rock PD took a report about a similar incident which happened in that city's recreation center. That led to other claims of illicit recordings of children at the TaeKwondo Academy's Aurora and Lone Tree locations during summer camps.   

"One of the victims reported noticing the phone hanging out the side of Chen's backpack and went to turn it around out of caution," the press release states, "and found it was recording."

Among the pornographic material seized from his home were more than a half dozen videos which investigators determined were recorded in local bathrooms and locker rooms where both boys and girls were changing clothes. Chen, in fact, was seen in some of the videos setting up the phone to record, according to the press release.

"I'm proud of these victims for having the courage to speak up and tell a trusted adult about what happened," District Attorney John Kellner said. "By coming forward, these young girls likely saved many others from being victimized by this defendant. Our families should feel safer knowing he will no longer be around our children for a very long time."

Chen pleaded guilty to three counts of Sexual Exploitation of a Child, a class 3 Felony, in March.

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