Gerald Strebendt, 40, was convicted of second-degree sexual assault in Oregon’s Lane County Circuit Court this week, according to The Register-Guard. Strebrandt is a former U.S. Marine who fought in the UFC in 2003.
Strebendt’s conviction comes after he was arrested in 2017 under accusations of sexually abusing a teenager he was coaching at 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu in Eugene, OR. Strebendt’s affiliation with the 10th Planet brand dates back to the early 2000s when he was one of Eddie Bravo’s first students.
Strebendt’s professional MMA career began in 2001. In seven years he amassed a record of 9-7. His lone UFC appearance came versus Josh Thomson at UFC 44 in 2003. Strebendt lost that bout via KO.
Notable interactions between the law and Strebendt began around 2005, when he served as a key witness in the murder trial of Rafael Torre. Torre was a part-time MMA reporter and broadcaster who had inflated his grappling credentials when claiming to be a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt (per Josh Gross/Sherdog).
Torre’s trial revealed that he had offered Strebendt $10,000 to kill Bryan Richards, the husband of a woman Torre was having an affair with. Richards’ reportedly had a sizable life insurance policy. Strebendt turned Torre down and Torre committed the murder himself.
Strebendt testified that Torre admitted killing Richards with a rear-naked choke. Strebendt reportedly came forward and told detectives what he knew because he was worried Torre would go unpunished. Torre was convicted of murder and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Almost a decade later Strebendt was himself accused of murder. On January 29th, 2014 he was involved in an altercation with David Paul Crofut following a traffic collision in Springfield, OR. After Strebendt and Crofut’s vehicles collided Strebendt called 911 before shooting Crofut to death with a semi-automatic rifle.
Strebendt claimed he killed Crofut because he feared his life was being threatened. Crofut was not armed during the confrontation and no other weapons were found at the scene. Strebendt also claimed that Crofut, whose blood alcohol content was over the legal limit, hit his vehicle on purpose.
Strebendt was charged with first-degree murder in March, 2014. However that charge was dismissed in May, 2015 when Strebendt plead guilty to the lesser charge of criminally negligent homicide with a firearm. Strebendt was jailed for this offense and released in 2017.
He was arrested for sexual assault eight months after leaving jail. Strebendt was due to be sentenced on Friday, but that was postponed. According to KEZI a judge stated the postponement was, “because circumstances came to light after the trial.”