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Cain Velasquez’s alleged target, Harry Goularte, pleads not guilty to child-related felony charge

Harry Goularte, the man Cain Velasquez allegedly targeted during a shooting that resulted in attempted murder charges against the former UFC heavyweight champ, has pleaded not guilty to a single felony charge of a lewd or lascivious act upon a child under age 14.

A Santa Clara County (Calif.) judge on Monday issued a no-contact order for Goularte, requiring him to stay 300 feet away from the alleged victim. He is due back in court on Sept. 20 for a preliminary hearing, a court spokesperson confirmed to MMA Fighting. Goularte was present via video teleconference at the hearing and gave short answers speaking to his attorney, according to an initial report from MMA Junkie.

Goularte, 43, was arrested on suspicion of repeatedly molesting a child, later identified as Velasquez’s 4-year-old son, at a childcare facility operated by his mother. He posted bail and was released from custody on Feb. 25, reportedly against the district attorney’s wishes, and ordered to stay in his home, wear an ankle monitoring bracelet, and stay away from any children under 14. He reportedly was on the way to picking up the bracelet when the alleged shooting took place.

Velasquez, 39, is accused of shooting a .40-caliber handgun into a car carrying Goularte, Goularte’s father-in-law, and Goularte’s mother. The father-in-law, Paul Bender, was wounded twice by the gunfire during the shooting, which prosecutors say involved a high-speed chase through the Morgan Hill neighborhood of San Jose, Calif.

The former UFC champ faces a charge of attempted murder in addition to other gun charges. A judge has twice denied Velasquez bail, calling his alleged actions reckless. Velasquez’s teammates and the MMA community have stepped up in support of the ex-champ, calling his actions heroic.

Veteran prosecutors say Velasquez faces several legal challenges to overcome to avoid serious jail time. He is due back in court on Friday for a plea hearing that’s twice been delayed. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison. His high-profile attorney, Mark Geragos, has blasted the courts for allowing Goularte to be released while his client has sat in jail.

Goularte’s attorney has proclaimed his client innocent. He faces a sentence of up to eight years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine for the felony charge of a lewd or lascivious act upon a child under age 14.

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