Self-defense instructor John Patrick Harison was convicted today of molesting a 4-year-old girl while she was a student at his Costa Mesa studio. He was sentenced to three years in state prison and ordered to register as a sex offender.
Harison, 62, pleaded guilty to one felony count of lewd acts on a child. He also has a pending child pornography case with the U.S. Attorney's Office.
During sentencing today, the girl's father said that Harison is a threat to innocent children and deserves to go to prison. "My wife and I thought we were improving our children, giving them self confidence and giving them a skill to protect themselves from harm. How wrong we were. Little did we know that we were delivering our daughter to a child molester."
According to the Orange County District Attorney's Office, Harison sexually assaulted the girl in a secluded area of the studio while he was supposed to be teaching her self-defense. He laid down next to her and fondled her groin region over her clothing.
The girl told her mother one week later, who then contacted the police.
In addition to being an instructor, Harison was also a co-owner of the Costa Mesa studio.