KINGSLAND, Ga. -- The brother of the owner of Pak's Karate Academy on Highway 17 said he's devastated to learn about the allegations of child molestation against a long-time instructor.
Master instructor and owner of a center in Fernandina Beach, Bryan Peeples, said teaching children karate is his passion.
"It's our life. It's what we do. We love teaching the kids. We love the families," said Peeples.
The past few days have been tough for Peeples. His voiced cracked as he talked about learning of the arrest of 59-year-old Thomas Ary, a man who was his instructor when he was kid.
"I started with him when I was 7 or 8 years old. I've known him ever since. He's a friend of the family," said Peeples.
According to the Camden County Sheriff's Office, allegations first surfaced in late August and about two months later the first victim stepped forward. Police said the victim is a female younger than 12-years-old, her allegations led to Ary's arrest.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigations has also opened a separate investigation into Peeple's brother, Craig, who owns the center. While he has not been charged with any crime, he has stepped down from his role.
Bryan Peeples now runs the Kingsland location.
"The safety and the well being of the students, the parents, the families are of the utmost important concern of course. We are revisiting any policies that we can change of make better we're doing everything possible to make sure they're safe," said Peeples.
According to Peeples, part of the changes include requiring a background check for all instructors. According to Camden County Sheriff's Office, Ary had no previous record.
Ary posted a $23,200 bound over the weekend. He's now awaiting his next court date.