Martial arts studio remains open for business after owner’s arrest in child sex case

Joseph Rene Caballero, 40, accused of sexually assaulting girl, 14

SAN ANTONIO – The doors of a local martial arts studio opened for business Tuesday morning in the wake of news about the arrest of the owner on a charge of sexual assault of a child.

Joseph Rene Caballero, 40, was released on bond after his arrest Saturday.

Caballero is accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl who was a student at his jiujitsu school, The Exception Squad.

In a news conference Monday afternoon, Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said Caballero started by sending notes to the girl after she broke up with another student she was dating.

“It appeared that the notes were from an anonymous, secret admirer, things of that nature, trying to establish a relationship with the young lady,” Salazar said.

Eventually, the sheriff said, it culminated with Caballero sexually assaulting the girl on several occasions.

She spoke out about it to authorities recently, although it appeared it had been going on as far back as last fall, Salazar said.

Court records show Caballero has since been ordered to cease contact with all children other than his own.

On Tuesday morning, employees could be seen unlocking the doors to the business, located in the 7600 block of Culebra Road. A social media post showed The Exception Squad is running a summer program for children.

Parents who arrived at the business quickly hurried inside, refusing to speak with news crews.

One man who spoke with KSAT 12 News off-camera said, despite the allegations, he has no plans to remove his daughters from what he called, “the best jiujitsu studio in the city.”

He initially dismissed the claims made about Caballero during the sheriff’s news conference, saying that the business owner would not harm any children.

Later, he relented somewhat and said that whatever Caballero may have done should not reflect negatively on the studio and its employees.

However, Melissa Karengera, who works at a nearby business, said the arrest has changed her mind about the martial arts school.

At one point, she was planning to enroll her sons there.

“I don’t know now because, you know, you never know what can happen. I don’t think I would,” Karengera said. “It’s hard to trust nowadays.”

Karengera said she feels for the teenage girl in this case, who the sheriff applauded for coming forward and speaking out.

“That hurts me,” Karengera said. “Deep inside, it hurts me more than anything because even though that’s not my daughter, that affects me as a parent.”

Sheriff’s investigators are concerned there could be more children who may have been affected by Caballero.

They’re encouraging parents of students at the school to speak with their children and report anything unusual.

The number for the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office is 210-335-6000.

About the Authors

Katrina Webber joined KSAT 12 in December 2009. She reports for Good Morning San Antonio. Katrina was born and raised in Queens, NY, but after living in Gulf Coast states for the past decade, she feels right at home in Texas. It's not unusual to find her singing karaoke or leading a song with her church choir when she's not on-air.

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