BJJ black belt and ex-instructor at a Fight Sports affiliate, Marcel Goncalves, will reportedly make the case that he was suffering from CTE and was legally insane at the time of the sexual assault that he is alleged to have committed. The charged offense occurred back in 2018, when he was 31, and he allegedly engaged in a sexual relationship with one of his BJJ students who was 16 at the time. Marcel Goncalves was charged with three counts of felony sexual assault as according to Florida Law; “a person 24 years of age or older who engages in sexual activity with a person 16 or 17 years of age commits a felony of the second degree.”
An early report from Florida-based news outlet Wink News revealed that Goncalves actually admitted to having sex with a minor at the time of his arrest. Publicly available court documents confirm that Goncalves is not denying the encounter and a notice of intent to rely on insanity defense was filed on December 15th, 2020 in the twentieth judicial circuit in Collier County, Florida, it reads as follows:
“The Defendant, MARCEL GONCALVES, by and through the undersigned attorney, files this “NOTICE OF INTENT TO RELY ON INSANITY DEFENSE” pursuant to Rule 3.216 of the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure. The Defendant intends to rely on the defense of insanity at the trial of this matter and offers the below statement of in support. The Defendant expects to establish that the Defendant was legally insane at the time of the charged offense, and specifically suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).”
Sadly, this is not the first time that a BJJ instructor has been accused of inappropriate sexual conduct with a student, and likely will not be the last either. As a community, it’s important for everyone to ensure that they speak out when witnessing inappropriate conduct, and they encourage any potential victims to come forward.