Karate mentor sentenced for child sex crimes
11 News has learned a man who was sentenced to 90 days in jail for child sex crimes was released one day after learning his fate.
Court documents say 23-year-old Nicholas Parnello met one young girl while he was mentoring her in Colorado Springs. His arrest papers say he met the girl at T3 Karate near Woodmen and Academy in Colorado Springs. The studio says he was not an employee, but an older student there.
Parnello took a plea deal, and Judge Lin Billings Vela gave him a 90-day jail sentence. He had already spent 88 days in jail waiting for that sentencing, so he got credit for the time he had served and got out one day after his sentencing hearing.
Court documents say Parnello asked one victim for nude photographs, and repeatedly tried to contact her even after he was told not to.
"Just a blatant disregard. He was a 23-year-old man," said deputy district attorney Anne Francis. "That’s a pretty big age difference and the fact that he was in a position of trust being at karate school.”
Parnello was charged with seven counts, including sex assault on a child by one in a position of trust. Some of those charges were dropped when he pleaded guilty to sex assault on a child.
“It was stipulated that he would serve 10 years to the rest of his life on sex offender intensive supervised probation, which is a very specialized sex offender probation," said Francis. "It was up to the judge yesterday whether or not he would receive a sentence to community corrections as a condition of his sentence. The judge decided to impose the 10 to life sex offender intensive supervised probation with our community corrections. She further sentenced him to 90 days jail.”
Prosecutors say the probation Parnellos is on is very strict, and it is a possible life sentence. He will also have to register as a sex offender.
“People hear probation and they think it’s a slap on the wrist. This is a special intensive supervised probation," Francis said. “This is a plea agreement we made with consultation of the victims. I think one of their main concerns was him getting treatment and help for an obvious troubling problem.”
The karate studio tells 11 News they kicked Parnello out as soon as they learned about the allegations. The studio owner says he was not an employee and was not there in an sort of official capacity.
Parnello told the judge at his sentencing hearing that he will do his best to make up for the things he has done. His lawyer says he has taken accountability for his actions and is already engaging in therapy.