Former N. Versailles karate instructor to stand trial in plot to harm witnesses in sex assault case

A former karate instructor in North Versailles accused of sexually assaulting several students waived his right to a preliminary hearing Friday and will stand trial on charges he asked a cellmate to kill or intimidate witnesses in the case.

Michael Scherbanic, 29, of South Park appeared before District Judge Mary Murray in City Court, Downtown.

Police said Mr. Scherbanic concocted “an elaborate criminal plan to intimidate victims, recruit witnesses to perjure themselves and obstruct the prosecution in five criminal cases,” according to a criminal complaint in the case.

In March, police charged Mr. Scherbanic with five counts of soliciting homicide, five counts of soliciting causing a catastrophe, nine counts of soliciting retaliation and other offenses.

Mr. Scherbanic had been jailed on separate charges filed last summer by Allegheny County Police in five separate sexual assault cases. Police said the victims in each of those cases were Mr. Scherbanic’s students at the Tang Soo Do Karate College in North Versailles. His victims ranged in age from 12 to 20.  He was scheduled for trial in April.

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