Rafael de Freitas’ defense attorney believes his client has been “falsely maligned” and will be exonerated from a charge that he sexually assaulted a client.
In a prepared statement sent to MMA Fighting on Wednesday, the attorney, Jason Bowles, said a video submitted to the police by the alleged victim that purports to show the alleged assault does not prove the crime of which de Freitas is accused.
Bowles said the jiu-jitsu instructor, a well-known martial arts figure who’s linked to several high-profile fighters in Albuquerque, N.M., has been portrayed by “one-sided reports” of the alleged crime and will fight a felony charge of criminal sexual penetration.
Bowles, an Albuquerque-based attorney who’s previously represented pro fighters, claims the alleged victim “poured alcohol and liquid THC” during a “consensual encounter” and added her statements to police “show that she had had motives to bring these false charges.”
“Mr. de Freitas willingly admits and is remorseful about making a terrible error in his marriage and towards his wife,” the attorney stated. “But he is absolutely innocent of any criminal sexual assault and his and his family’s name and reputation have been falsely maligned. We are asking everyone to reserve judgment until all of the evidence is presented in court.”
De Freitas, 37, was arrested and jailed on Dec. 4 after a criminal complaint was filed by the Bernalillo County (N.M.) District Attorney stemming from the alleged incident on Nov. 7 in Albuquerque. On Friday, a judge will rule on a motion from the state to keep him jailed until trial, per a spokesperson for the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court.
The felony charge against de Freitas – third degree criminal sexual penetration – carries a potential sentence of up to three years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.
The criminal complaint details the alleged victim’s claim against de Freitas, her longtime jiu-jitsu coach, that she made after a meeting with him on Nov. 7 at her house. She told police she called him over after she complained of cramping and asked for a massage. She said she began feeling sleepy after 30 minutes and passed out, after which she woke up naked from the waist down. A detective who took her statement for the complaint said she texted him about the incident and he denied they had any sexual contact. But she told police she remembered she had a security camera installed in her living room, and after watching video of the alleged incident, she turned the footage over to police.
The detective said he reviewed the footage and saw de Freitas and the alleged victim having breakfast together before the session and saw the jiu-jitsu coach “possibly” drop something in the alleged victim’s drink as she used the bathroom, using a “flicking” motion over a glass of orange juice to which she later added whiskey and ginger ale. The detective said the footage showed de Freitas manipulate the alleged victim’s legs, which appeared to be “heavy,” and force oral sex on her while appearing to masturbate himself. Later, the detective wrote, de Freitas allegedly used the victim’s hand to rub his groin while she was unconscious before leaving her residence.
Below is attorney Jason Bowles’ full statement:
“We represent Rafael de Freitas Barata, a well loved and very accomplished jujitsu practitioner. To date, the public has received one-sided reports of sexual assault based on the word of the alleged victim and a video, which no news agency or the public has seen. We have now watched the video. Let us be clear: these charges are false. The video proves Mr. de Freitas’ innocence of a crime. We will present evidence that she invited Mr. de Freitas over that morning in texts, poured alcohol and had liquid THC, and her actions and responses during the video reflect a completely consensual encounter. Her statements to police also show that she had had motives to bring these false charges. Mr. de Freitas willingly admits and is remorseful about making a terrible error in his marriage and towards his wife. But he is absolutely innocent of any criminal sexual assault and his and his family’s name and reputation have been falsely maligned. We are asking everyone to reserve judgment until all of the evidence is presented in Court.”