Former Cobrinha Affiliate Nicollas Welker Araujo Sentenced to Three Years And Deportation For Raping a Minor.

Earlier today, BJJ competitor Stevie Knapp took to Instagram to announce that the long court battle with her former coach and abuser has finally ended. Nicollas Welker Araujo, founder of Overall Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Agoura Hills, has been tried and convicted of sexually abusing Knapp from ages 13 to 15 and will be deported following a three year prison sentence. Her full statement read in court can be found bellow.

According to a report from ABC 7, the pedophile Welker was arrested last February on suspicion of rape and lewd acts with a child. Knapp, currently a blue belt, describes a cycle of abuse and torture from Welker spanning crucial developmental years of teenage life.

“It was really hard, but it is something that needed to happen for me and every other female in jiu-jitsu,” Knapp said in a statement to the JJT. Since leaving Overall in October of 2019, Knapp has bounced around different gyms and even picked up a gold medal at Pans that same year.

A common problem Knapp now finds is in making her new coaches uncomfortable. Many, according to Knapp, feel heasitant to trust her for fear of a false rape allegation.

“They [coaches] are scared I will lie and say somebody sexually assaulted me at the gym because of what happened with Nicollas. A lot of people didn’t believe me and fed into the lies Nicollas told to protect himself,” Knapp said.

Following the arrest, BJJ legend Rubens “Cobrinha” Charles was quick to denounce the disgraced black belt and disown him publicly.

Trust and respect are part of the very foundation of student / instructor relationships. They are principles I expect…

Posted by Rubens "Cobrinha" Charles on Sunday, March 3, 2019

Trust and respect are part of the very foundation of student / instructor relationships. They are principles I expect from my jiu jitsu community. And they are at the core of what Cobrinha Brazilian Jiu Jitsu brand represents. Any breach of that trust is unacceptable. Sexual assault or any inappropriate, unwanted contact are the most egregious examples of violating that trust.This week, I learned the unconscionable news that an individual who used to represent Cobrinha Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as an affiliate has been arrested on suspicion of rape and lewd acts with a child. My heart goes out to the victims and their families. They have my full support and hopes that justice prevails and that their victimizer is harshly punished.Upon hearing the news, we immediately terminated our affiliation with the accused. We stand together with the entire Cobrinha Brazilian Jiu Jitsu family of affiliates to condemn those actions and lift up the victims, and we will continue working to create a positive environment for all of our jiu jitsu family members.

-Rubens “Cobrinha” Charles, March 3, 2019

Knapp gave a closing statement to the JJT that will be posted in full.

“To any girl/women in jiu-jitsu who have felt at all threatened or violated by their coach, trust your instincts and speak up when you feel like something is wrong. Even though professors and coaches are highly respected in martial arts it does not mean they have all power over you, if something is not right speak up despite the “power” they have over you. They are not above you as a human being. This is something that happens far too often in martial arts and it simply needs to stop. Enough is enough and justice has to be served. Women should feel safe and welcome in their gyms. So speak up and tell the truth! so that we can end sexual abuse in martial arts. Women are stronger than they think, they have the power to change lives and make the world a better place.”

If you or a loved one is experiencing abuse, please call the 24-hour national abuse hotline at 1-800-656-4673.


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