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Church 'life coach' arrested for sex assaults

June 24, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Marina del Rey man who claims he is a "life coach" has been arrested, accused of sexual assault. Police are looking for possible victims.Michael Keith Martin, 54, claims he is a spiritual advisor. He was arrested after several women reported he sexually assaulted them. Police are now looking for more possible victims. Martin reportedly met some of the women at a Culver City church.

Authorities say Martin targeted women he met at church services. He gained their trust and then sexually assaulted them, many times in their own homes.

"He's very dangerous. He's a sexual predator," said LAPD Lt. John Romero.

Authorities said Martin is a self-proclaimed life coach and spiritual advisor who practiced alternative medical systems. LAPD investigators tell Eyewitness News the Marina del Rey man victimized women who came to him for guidance.

"He would establish himself as that life coach, build their confidence, get them into therapy sessions," said Romero. "He would meditate with them and then suddenly and without warning, the victims were very much surprised by his act. In some cases, in shock, some cases, paralyzed by fear, and they were assaulted by force."

According to authorities, a number of the victims who came forward are members of the Agape International Spiritual Center in Culver City, where Martin attended services. But church officials say he hadn't been there in months.

"I have not seen him in several months and as far as his claim to be a spiritual counselor or life coach, he has absolutely no endorsement from Agape, never has," said Gerald Russell, chief executive officer, Agape International Spiritual Center. "We have never promoted him as such."

Though several victims have come forward, authorities believe there may be others.

"We would like anyone who thinks they were a victim or who knows of a victim -- a lot of times victims will report to other people -- if that has happened, to call the Operations West Bureau of Detectives," said Romero.

If you have information about this case, you are asked to call the LAPD at (877) LAPD-247.

Martin is expected back in court on June 28. His bail has been set at $126,000.


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