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While philosophers and internet commenters can argue whether revenge can be morally justifiable in some cases, vigilante justice is rarely the best solution. This should not need to be said so many times.
But Cain Velasquez, a two-time UFC heavyweight champion, is now facing an attempted murder charge after allegedly shooting the man accused of molesting his son.
He later decided to act within the limitations of the law and sue the alleged predator and his family.
In a civil lawsuit filed on his 4-year-old son's behalf, Velasquez accuses Harry Goularte of molesting his son while he was in the care of the daycare run by Goularte's mother. At the time of the alleged assault, Goularte was living and working at the daycare facility.
The lawsuit, filed against Goularte, his concrete business, his mother, and his stepfather, who owns and operates the facility where Velasquez's son was abused, alleges negligence, sexual battery, and several other claims.
The lawsuit claims that the daycare, "fostered and maintained an environment" where the children were vulnerable to sexual assault, harassment, and molestation. Goularte allegedly spent time alone with Velasquez's son and other young children at the daycare, allegedly touching Velasquez's son "100 times."
We may not be writing about this lawsuit under normal circumstances. But it comes after Velasquez allegedly followed Goularte and his stepfather in his car while shooting at them with a 40-caliber semiautomatic handgun.
Goularte pled not guilty to the felony charge of molesting a minor in early June. He was then released from jail through a court-supervised own recognizance program, meaning he did not have to pay bail.
One day later is when Velasquez allegedly then took matters into his own hands. Velasquez closely followed Goularte's vehicle from his home, and eventually escalated the lurking to a high-speed chase.
Velasquez allegedly rammed his truck into Goularte's vehicle and began to shoot into the car. Video footage shows large dents and bullet holes all across Goularte's vehicle, as Velasquez continues to pursue the vehicle occupied by Harry Goularte, his stepfather, and his sister. Goularte was not injured in the shooting, but his stepfather was shot in the shoulder.
Velasquez was arrested the following day and now is facing 10 counts of attempted murder and gun assault charges, though he pled not guilty.
So far, a judge has twice denied bail, owing to Velasquez's "reckless disregard for human life." Velasquez will return to court in August and could face up to 20 years in prison if he is convicted.
A preliminary trial to address Goularte's molestation allegations has been scheduled for September.
If Goularte is convicted, his maximum sentence is eight years.
While it is incredibly understandable to want to take control of a morally abhorrent situation, it is still highly illegal. The criminal justice system can be excruciatingly slow and sometimes unrewarding, but it's still not legal to seek revenge in this manner.
Needless to say, the lawsuit should have come before the shootout.
And though his actions may seem harsh to some, Velasquez has garnered a large group of supporters.
Their general consensus is that, while illegal, Velasquez's actions were morally justifiable with dozens of supporters proudly wearing "#FREECAIN" t-shirts outside the courthouse as he awaited a bail hearing.
Further explaining his actions, a family friend of the Velasquez's said: "This event should have never happened, had they kept the pedophile behind bars."
He has also received the support of many other members of his industry, including UFC President Dana White, commentator Joe Rogan, and fighters Kamaru Usman, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Daniel Cormier.
Not everyone agrees though, as Deputy District Attorney Aaron French stated: "What he did was put the public in danger. Driving a vehicle and firing a firearm on the highway … is extremely dangerous to other people and human life."
Anyone can speculate on the moral validity behind Velasquez's actions, but there is no way to determine his punishment until a judge and jury have given their opinions.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.