[CW: The following story details alleged sexual assaults]
According to ABC7 News Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Nicollas Welker Araujo, owner of Overall Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Agoura Hills, CA, was arrested last week and charged in connection with alleged sex crimes.
Authorities in Los Angeles County suspect the 27-year-old Araujo committed a rape against a person who is incapable of giving consent because of developmental or physical disability. Araujo is also suspected of lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14.
It is not known if these suspected crimes are alleged to have taken place at Araujo’s gym. A nearby business owner told ABC7 news, under conditions of anonymity, that he had heard complaints from parents — whose children trained at Overall BJJ — regarding inappropriate behaviour by Araujo.
Araujo moved to the U.S from Sao Paulo, Brazil in 2013. His gym is part of the Cobrinha Brazilian Jiu Jitsu brand affiliate program, which was founded by iconic BJJ practitioner Rubens ‘Cobrinha’ Charles Maciel.
After news broke regarding Araujo’s arrest Maciel released a statement on his personal Facebook page. “My heart goes out to the victims and their families,” wrote ‘Cobrinha’. “They have my full support and hopes that justice prevails and that their victimizer [sic] is harshly punished.”
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
Maciel’s entire statement can be read below:
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.
According to Overall Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu’s website Araujo is a first degree black belt who has won gold medals at the IBJJF Houston Open, IBJJF San Jose Open, and NABJJF Worlds.
Authorities believe there may be more victims connected to this case and they have urged anyone with further information to contact the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department.