June 18, 2024
Annapolis, US 79 F

Local Karate Instructor Sentenced to 15 Years for Sex Offenses with Minors

A 72-year-old karate instructor was sentenced Friday to 15 years in prison for sex offenses involving two minor children. One of the minors was a student at his homemade karate dojo, while the other victim came forward after suffering from sexual child abuse from the Defendant over 20 years ago, State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess announced.

Harry “Craig” Conaway was also ordered to serve a mandatory five years of supervised probation and may not return to his Hanover home, where he ran his dojo. Conaway further was ordered to have no contact with the victims and other minor children. He will be supervised by the COMET Supervision Team, which are a group of probation agents that specifically supervise defendants convicted of sex offenses. He also will be placed on a lifetime sex offender registry.

“As an instructor of martial arts, the defendant was expected to instill confidence and teach self-defense. As it turned out, the students needed defense against their own teacher who groomed and engaged them in sexual acts,” Leitess said. “I commend both the young survivor who felt confident and secure enough to report what was happening to him. His courage led to a second victim also feeling empowered to come forward to also report his own terrible experience when he was a teenager.” 

In July 2023, a 10-year-old boy reported in a forensic interview that he was sexually abused by his karate instructor, identified as Conaway, across several weekends over a nine month period. The boy said he took lessons at Conaway’s dojo on weekends while visiting his biological father, who lived on the same street. The lessons would take place in a storage shed that was converted into a small dojo on Conaway’s property in Hanover. 

He disclosed Conaway was abusive with punches and would order him to shower at the end of each lesson in a stall outside the dojo. During showers, he reported that Conaway would lean over the short privacy wall and watch. During the nine-month period, he said Conaway forced him to ingest capsules that would make him sleepy, measured his genitalia and other lewd acts, and sexually assaulted him. In May 2023, he said he was told to practice at the dojo while Conaway was not home. When he arrived, Conaway was inside the dojo and tried to force the boy to touch his privates. The boy was able to escape and run home.

Following the announcement of charges, a 35-yeary-old came forward and identified himself as an adult survivor of Conaway. His abuse spanned from July 2001 through 2003, when he was between 13 and 15 years old. The man said he was a student of Conaway’s dojo and would practice on the weekends while staying at a relative’s home nearby. During that time, he said Conaway would massage him, which led to sexual acts. He eventually sought counseling and came forward after hearing that the Defendant had recently abused another youth.

On February 6, 2024, Conaway entered a guilty plea to two counts of Third-Degree Sex Offense. He remained held in jail without bond. On Friday, he was sentenced to 15 years of incarceration.

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