A sports instructor from Ashdod was arrested over a week ago on suspicion of rape, sexual assault and giving drugs to a minor, police said.
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Police began investigating James Blond, 36, after receiving complaints from several girls aged 14 and 15. The complainants said that while working as an instructor at Mabuza, an alternative sports center in Rehovot, he had given them drugs and committed sexual offenses against them.
The detention of Blond, who denies any wrongdoing, has been extended several times. The police suspect there are other victims, and they have asked for the public’s help in locating them.
According to media reports, Blond would go to construction sites in the Ashdod area and perform acrobatics on cranes without a safety net. Blond teaches parkour, which is based on military obstacle course training.
In an interview with the Ynet website, Blond was asked about parkour’s effect on children and the risks it entailed.
“I think it’s preferable for people to go and try to do these things than to sit at home and push drugs, or to sit at PlayStation all day,” he said. “Children are always looking to do things that are out of the ordinary.”
Blond’s attorney, Gil Eshet, said his client was cooperating with the investigation and denied the allegations. In particular, Blond denies committing “sex crimes against minors, or without their consent,” Eshet added.