Karate champ jailed for girl abuse
An international karate champion and trusted martial arts teacher has been jailed for five years for grooming and sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl.
Liam O'Grady fought back tears as he was handcuffed and taken from York Crown Court after a judge said he had grossly breached the trust placed in him by the girl's parents.
The Recorder of York, Judge Stephen Ashurst, heard during a trial last year that O'Grady, 30, of Larchfield, Osbaldwick, York, sent sexual texts and pictures of himself to the teenager.
The court was told that O'Grady send her almost 5,000 texts in total, and abused her at his home, in his car and also in men's toilets.
Last month, a jury found him guilty of one count of meeting a child following sexual grooming and three of sexual activity with a child.
Judge Ashurst said if the sexual activity had begun just a few months earlier, when the girl was 12, O'Grady would have been going to jail for rape.
The judge said O'Grady was clearly still in denial about what he had done. He said he had received a large amount of testimonials which spoke with "one voice" about how the defendant had contributed to his community.
But Judge Ashurst said: "Maybe your sporting prowess had given you a degree of confidence. It was as though you believed you could get away with it because of your position."
O'Grady, who has won gold medals at world and European level, taught hundreds of children karate in York.
The judge said O'Grady would be placed on the Sex Offenders Register and banned from working with children. He also gave him an indefinite Sex Offenders Prevention Order which restricts his access to female children.