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In his fifth attempt for release, an MMA fighter accused of trying to shoot the man charged with molesting his son is out on bail.
Cain Velasquez, 40, was released on $1 million bail Tuesday following a pretrial hearing presided over by Santa Clara County Judge Arthur Bocanegra, as first reported by ESPN. The former two-time UFC heavyweight champion was previously denied bail four times when Judge Shelyna Brown deemed the “risk was too great” to free Velasquez.
“If you are as devoted as a husband and father, I have to believe, and I’m confident, [you] will not jeopardize anything that would take away from your son, your daughter, or your family,” said Judge Bocanegra, according to CBS Sports. “I hope you don’t prove me wrong.”
Velasquez is accused of engaging in an 11-mile, high-speed car chase on Feb. 28, ending at a Bay Area intersection, where he allegedly opened fire into a truck occupied by three individuals. Reports soon surfaced that Velasquez allegedly targeted Harry Eugene Goularte, 43, who was charged days earlier with sexually molesting one of Velasquez’s relatives at a Santa Clara County daycare owned by Goularte’s mother.
In a civil suit filed by Velasquez against Goularte and his family, the alleged victim was identified as Velasquez’s 4-year-old son, as reported by the LA Times.
Goularte was not injured in the shooting, though his stepfather, Paul Bender, sustained non-life-threatening injuries, according to ESPN. Goularte’s mother, Patricia Goularte, was the third occupant of the vehicle.
Velasquez was slapped with an attempted murder charge and 10 firearm-related charges, to which he has pleaded not guilty.
Velasquez’s defense attorney, Mark Geragos, gave a statement to ESPN following his client’s pretrial release.
“It's been a long slog, and I am very grateful,” Geragos stated. “Nothing is as touching as watching him having it sink in with his wife, Michelle, there.”
As part of the conditions attached to his release, Velasquez must wear a GPS monitor and is prohibited from coming within 300 yards of Goularte and his relatives. CBS Sports reported he must also undergo outpatient treatment for traumatic brain injuries.
“I just feel blessed, you know?” said Velasquez, adding that he hoped to “make something positive out of this terrible situation.”
On Saturday, UFC president Dana White — speaking to TMZ Sports ahead of UFC 281 in New York City — weighed in on Velasquez getting out of jail.
“I’m happy for him and his family to finally be back together,” said White. “Cain Velasquez is a good man. He’s a good person, and I’m hoping that the judge that looked at this case says, 'You know what? This family has suffered enough.’ As if the kids haven’t suffered enough in this thing, they lost their father for almost a year."
“Hopefully, the real justice gets served in this case, and Cain Velasquez — who is a good man, a good father, a good husband — gets to be at home with his family,” White continued.
In a civil suit filed in June, Velasquez accused Harry Goularte of abusing his son at Goularte's mother’s and Bender’s San Martin, California home, where they operated a daycare, according to the LA Times. The child spent five days a week at the residential business between 2021 and 2022, where Goularte allegedly took the boy and other children to the bathroom and a playhouse to molest them.
Goularte is accused of inappropriately touching Velasquez’s son “100 times,” said defense attorney Mark Geragos. According to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, Harry Goularte was not a daycare employee.
Goularte was arrested on Feb. 23 and released two days later as part of the Supervised Own Recognizance Program (SORP).
Geragos claimed his client was unaware of Goularte’s release, which supports their “viable” defense that Velasquez acted in the heat of passion, according to Law & Crime. He added Velasquez has also cooperated with law enforcement.
“How do you prosecute one person who is a defendant in one case and a complaining witness in the other, and then vice versa?” Geragos told reporters.
Goularte pleaded not guilty to the child abuse charges in June, according to sports news website MMA Junkie. Prosecutors were granted a continuance in September to postpone the matter until Nov. 14.
So far, a trial date for Velasquez has not been scheduled.
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