Content warning: The following article contains graphic accounts of sexual assault.
Marcel Goncalves, Fight Sports LLC, and Roberto “Cybog” Abreu have been named as defendants in a lawsuit filed by Goncalves’ alleged victim, according to a press release sent to the Jiu-Jitsu Times.
The lawsuit was filed in connection with the 2018 arrest of Goncalves, who was charged with felony sexual assault after being accused of having a sexual relationship with “Jane Doe,” who was sixteen at the time. Goncalves was released on bond, and in August 2021, Abreu and Fight Sports black belt Vagner Rocha released statements after it was revealed they’d had further interactions with Goncalves since his arrest. In September, Goncalves failed to appear for a mandatory court date, and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest.
The alleged victim is represented by attorneys Michelle Simpson Tuegel (who represented multiple US gymnasts in the Larry Nassar case), Mark O’Mara, and Andrew Dao.
According to the lawsuit, Goncalves and “Jane” were alone at his home when he allegedly assaulted her “under the guise of a massage.” Goncalves, who at the time was a trusted family friend of the alleged victim and her father, is said to have sexually assaulted “Jane” the next night and “every weekend for months” in the academy formerly known as Fight Sports Naples, as well as in his car in Naples and Miami, per the lawsuit. The press release also states that, at least once, “Goncalves wrapped a seatbelt around [the] plaintiff’s neck while he assaulted her, making it difficult for her to breathe.”
The lawsuit also cites a complaint by a woman who claims that she was assaulted by a fellow attendee at a 2016 Fight Sports training camp in Brazil. The woman first told her story to ADCC promotor Mo Jassim, and the New York Times later published her account in a comprehensive story that also includes details of the Goncalves case and Mandy Schneider‘s accusations against Rodrigo Oliveira.
Abreu, who has not been arrested or charged with a crime, announced a “zero-tolerance policy” and, subsequently, details of a third-party reporting system and sexual harassment prevention training following widespread outcry over Fights Sports’ handling of the multiple accusations of sexual assault from within the affiliation. The announcement came approximately three and a half years after Goncalves’ arrest.
“As a result of this horrific abuse of power by a coach our client trusted, [Jane] has suffered extreme physical, mental, and emotional harm and she left a sport she loved and excelled at. 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,” said Simpson Tuegel.
“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,” said O’Mara. “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.”
The Jiu-Jitsu Times has reached out to Abreu for comment and will update this article if we receive a response.