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Owner of jiu-jitsu center accused of lewd and lascivious misconduct involving minors

Joao Da Silva, 34, accused of touching teenage girls under bra

DAVIE, Fla. – The owner of a jiu-jitsu center in Davie was arrested Tuesday on lewd and lascivious misconduct charges involving several children, police said.

Davie police Maj. Dale Engle said the suspect, Joao Da Silva, 34, is the owner and an instructor at Raiva Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, located at 8234 W. State Road 84.

Engle said incidents involving two of the victims are being investigated by Davie police detectives, while the incident involving a third victim is being investigated by the Hollywood Police Department.

According to an arrest report, Davie police were notified about the accusations involving the victims, ages 17, 15 and 13, on June 20.

Davie police said the 13-year-old provided a sworn, recorded statement, claiming Da Silva had touched her breast under her bra. 

The victim told detectives this happened about three times a week for the past three years she has taken classes at the center.

Police said each time Da Silva touched the victim's breast, she was certain that it wasn't an accident or in the course of teaching class. The victim said each incident happened after class, the report stated.

Authorities said the 15-year-old victim also has attended the center for the past three years.

Police said the teen claimed that Da Silva had also touched her breast under her bra about two weeks before she reported the incident to authorities.

The incidents involving the 17-year-old allegedly happened in Hollywood. Further details about the victim in that case were not immediately released.

Pierre Kattan, who owns Pierre's Chandeliers next door to Raiva Jiu Jitsu studio, said his own children trained there. 

"He's been very good -- even my own two children train with him. I'm totally shocked at  this is news. Unbelievable," he said.

Another man, who said he trained at the studio but did not want to be identified, said he was heartbroken.

About the Authors:

Amanda Batchelor is the managing editor for Local10.com.

Janine Stanwood joined Local 10 News in February 2004 as an assignment editor. She is now a general assignment reporter. Before moving to South Florida from her Washington home, Janine was the senior legislative correspondent for a United States senator on Capitol Hill.