Attorneys To Represent Tulsa Man Being Sued By Alleged Groper For Free
TULSA, Oklahoma - The man being sued after he stood up on behalf of a woman at a PBR event received some good news; a lawyer wants to defend Shane Vernon in that lawsuit for free.
Citizens have been raising money for his defense, but now that money will go to a good cause.
Surveillance video taken at the PBR event held in Tulsa in September shows, according to police, Leonel Olivarez grabbing the rear-end of a woman he'd just met, not once but twice.
Melissa Smith said she knocked away his hand, pointed her finger at him and told him she didn't appreciate it.
Vernon said he saw it happen and, even though he didn't know Smith, said he could tell she was upset and asked her if she knew the man who grabbed her.
9/16/2014 Related Story: Good Samaritan Comes To Defense Of Tulsa Woman Groped At PBR
When she said no, Vernon said he took off after the man and confronted him.
"I was screaming in his face, ‘I don't appreciate what you were doing,' basically telling him, you don't know that young lady, grabbing her butt. People were looking at me like I was nuts," Vernon said back in September.
Prosecutors charged Olivarez with felony sexual battery. Police said Olivarez demonstrated for them how he grabbed Smith and even wrote her a letter of apology.
He's since pleaded not guilty.
Then, Olivarez sued Vernon for assault and battery, claiming Vernon grabbed Olivarez's shoulder and was trying to embarrass and humiliate him.
12/12/2014 Related Story: Alleged Groper Sues Tulsa Good Samaritan Who Defended Woman's Honor
After attorney, Matthew Schultz heard the story, he and Randy Rankin decided to represent Vernon.
"We felt what Shane did in that occurrence in September, was just very admirable," Schultz said.
They heard he'd raised nearly $3,000 for his defense through a Go Fund Me account, where citizens donated everything from $5 to $100, so they decided to take the case for free.
12/16/2014 Related Story: Go Fund Me Account Set Up For Good Samaritan Sued By Alleged Tulsa Groper
Vernon is now using the money raised to help battered women.
"We decided we won't take our fee. That 100 percent of what's been raised, and will be raised through the Go Fund Me account, will go to the Dayspring Villa Women and Children's shelter," said Schultz.
Olivarez's next court date is January 22nd.
His attorney said Olivarez has no previous history, but, if convicted is looking at ten years in prison and having to register as a sex offender.
He said Olivarez is the victim of an assault and battery and that there is another side of this story, but, won't comment further.