In October The New York Times reported that Brazilian jiu-jitsu world no-gi champ Roberto ‘Cyborg’ Abreu had been accused of mishandling multiple reports of sexual assault within his Fight Sports BJJ Academy network.
Abreu has now been served with a lawsuit by one woman who has accused him of failing to protect her from sexual assaults she suffered at the age of 16. The plaintiff in this case claimed she was repeatedly sexually abused by Marcel Gonçalves, an instructor at Abreu’s gym in Naples, Fl.
Gonçalves was charged with rape, but he failed to appear for a scheduled court hearing. A warrant has been issued for his arrest. Though, it is believed he may have fled to his native Brazil.
The lawsuit claims that Abreu was aware of the assaults (some of which are alleged to have happened in his gym) and failed to act in any way to prevent them. The lawsuit further claims that Abreu’s Fight Sports network has a “culture of abuse”.
Michelle Simpson Tuegel is representing the plaintiff in this matter. She previously represented U.S. Olympic gymnasts who were victims of former team doctor Larry Nassir.
In a press release Simpson Tuegel wrote, “while Marcel Gonçalves committed these despicable acts, Abreu and Fight Sports enabled the abuse and failed to ensure the safety of the minors under their care.We sadly expect there are other victims in this sport, and we would encourage them to report the abuse so the adults who failed to protect minor athletes are held accountable.”
Mark O’Mara, another attorney for the plaintiff, was also quoted in the release. He said, “Fight Sports had the power to implement safety mechanisms, policies, and measures to protect minors like our client from abuse, but failed to do so and allowed the abuse to continue. Nothing can take away her pain, but we hope to get her some measure of justice and hold those responsible fully accountable so that this does not happen again.”
Support for survivors of domestic violence can be found from the following organizations:
USA – The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
Canada – DAWN-RAFH Canada
UK and Ireland – Women’s Aid: 0808-2000-247
Rest of the World – HotPeachPages
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