by Michelle Durand – San Mateo Daily Journal
Joao Pierini, a former UFC fighter and longtime Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt, has been convicted of child molestation.
Michelle Durand of the San Mateo Daily Journal filed the following report:
A Brazilian martial arts champion and instructor accused of giving inappropriate massages to four boys, including three students, is facing two years in prison and life-long registration as a sex offender after pleading no contest to one felony and three misdemeanors counts of child molestation.
Joao Pierini, 35, changed his plea at a pre-trial conference rather than stand trial on the original nine charges including contributing to the delinquency of a minor, annoying a child under 18, sexual battery and lewd and lascivious behavior. If convicted of those charges, he faced up to five years in prison. Instead, he is looking at no more than two years in prison when sentenced April 14.
The plea bargain is satisfactory because he copped to the felony and must register as a sex offender, said Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.
Pierini’s plea nearly ends a case that has flown through the local court system since his December arrest. Pierini previously waived a preliminary hearing and was set for trial March 19 until he changed his plea.