Former UFC star Cain Velasquez sues alleged shooting target over molestation allegations

·3 min read
Cain Velasquez listens during a hearing at the Santa Clara County Hall of Justice on Monday, March 7, 2022, in San Jose, Calif. A judge had denied bail to former UFC heavyweight champion Velasquez, who was charged with attempted murder after authorities said he fired at a pickup truck carrying a man accused of sexually abusing a 4-year-old family member. Velasquez was arrested last week in San Jose. (Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group, Pool via AP)
Cain Velasquez listens during a hearing at the Santa Clara County Hall of Justice on March 7 in San Jose. (Aric Crabb / Associated Press)

Cain Velasquez, the former UFC heavyweight champion charged with the attempted murder of a man he claims molested his 4-year-old son, is now suing the man and his family, who own a child-care business where the alleged molestation took place.

Velasquez, 39, remains in police custody after he allegedly shot at the man and rammed his truck into his vehicle during a high-speed pursuit through Santa Clara County in February. The two-time UFC heavyweight champion claims in a civil lawsuit that Harry Goularte molested Velasquez's son while he was attending a child-care center run by Goularte's mother, Patricia Goularte.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the minor against Harry Goularte, his concrete business, along with his mother and stepfather, Paul Bender, who operated the child-care business out of a home in San Martin, Calif. Goularte was living at the home and working for the child-care business during the time of the alleged molestation, according to the lawsuit.

The Velasquez family claims Harry Goularte was allowed to spend time alone with the minor and other children on the property, including time he spent with children in a bathroom and a playhouse for extended periods of time. The child-care business and its owners "fostered and maintained an environment" where the children could be molested, sexually abused and harassed, the Velasquez family said in its lawsuit. Velasquez's son spent five days a week at the home from 2021 to 2022, according to the complaint filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court this week.

The lawsuit accuses Goularte, 43, and his family of negligence, sexual battery and several other claims.

He was charged with lewd and lascivious acts with a minor by the Santa Clara County district attorney's office.

Two days after he was arrested, Goularte was released from jail into the court's supervised own recognizance program over objections from prosecutors and was not required to post bail, said Sean Webby, a spokesperson for the Santa Clara district attorney's office.

The next day, Velasquez allegedly pursued Goularte and Bender in his truck and fired into their truck with a 40-caliber semiautomatic handgun. Velasquez was then arrested by police in San Jose. While Goularte was his target, Velasquez shot Bender in the shoulder.

“The sad tragedy is that Mr. Velasquez chose to take the law into his own hands, endangering the public and everyone in the truck," Dist. Atty. Jeff Rosen said at the time of Velasquez's arrest. "This act of violence also causes more pain and suffering to his family.”

This month, Goularte pleaded not guilty to the felony charge of molesting a minor and a preliminary trial is scheduled for September. In court, Velazquez's attorney, Mark Geragos, identified the minor as Velasquez's son. Goularte allegedly touched the boy "100 times" and other children were seen going into a bathroom at the child-care home with Goularte, Geragos said in court.

Velasquez, who's due back in court in August, is charged with attempted, premeditated murder and other related charges. He faces a prison term of 20 years to life, according to the Santa Clara district attorney's office. Goularte faces up to eight years in prison if convicted.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.