See more of the story

A onetime taekwondo instructor in Eden Prairie who was charged with sexually assaulting a teenage student numerous times at his home and at the studio was sentenced to a four-year term.

The sentencing of Hyobin Lee, 33, on Tuesday in Hennepin County District Court followed his conviction in a bench trial of first-degree criminal sexual conduct in connection with assaulting the Master Moon's martial arts student in 2018 when she was 15 years old.

With credit for the 18 days he spent in jail after his arrest, Lee can expect to serve the first 2⅔ years of his sentence in prison and the balance on supervised release. He must also register with the state as a predatory offender.

Judge Carolina Lamas found Lee guilty in November but only accepted one allegation of assault, explaining in her written verdict that the victim's statements while testifying and documented elsewhere "were too vague and contradictory to be able to understand how, where and when Mr. Lee and [the teenager] had other sexual encounters."

The sentence Lamas imposed over the objection of the prosecution was a downward departure from state guidelines, which called for a 12-year term. That would have meant roughly eight years in prison.

Lamas disclosed in her verdict that Lee and the teen exchanged oral sex, and "Lee did not use force or violence in the commission of the crime." Also, the judge chose among the listed reasons for her downward departure that the "crime was less onerous than usual."

According to the criminal complaint:

The girl said Lee began as her trainer at Master Moon's in 2015 and in 2018 began giving her rides, including picking her up from school and taking her to taekwondo classes.

In July of that year, Lee took the girl back to his home and sexually assaulted her for the first of several times. Another assault occurred in the studio's bathroom.

In November 2018, a new taekwondo studio opened closer to the girl's home, and she left the Eden Prairie location.

Police were alerted to the allegations on Sept. 21, 2020, by officials in the girl's school district. Lee was charged three weeks later with two counts of criminal sexual conduct.