Alleged Groper Sues Tulsa Good Samaritan Who Defended Woman's Honor
Friday, December 12th 2014, 5:54 pm
By: News On 6
A man charged with groping a woman at Tulsa's Professional Bull Riders event, is now suing the man who came to the woman's defense.
Melissa Smith said she was grateful when a Good Samaritan defended her honor by confronting the man who grabbed her rear-end. She is shocked the stranger's actions now have him facing a lawsuit.
Smith was working the PBR event at the BOK Center in September when she says a man grabbed her backside in a way there was no mistaking his intent.
Police say the incident was caught on surveillance video.
9/16/2014 Related Story: Good Samaritan Comes To Defense Of Tulsa Woman Groped At PBRVernon told us he followed the man to his seats and confronted him, yelling at him that what he did was wrong.
Smith said she was upset and felt violated, and that's when a total stranger, Shane Vernon, approached her and asked her if she knew the man who'd groped her. She told him she did not.
In September, Vernon told News On 6: "I grabbed his cigars and threw them into the arena, and I was still amped up, so I grabbed his cowboy hat and threw that into the arena,” he said.
Prosecutors charged Leonel Olivarez with felony sexual battery, then Olivarez turned around and sued Vernon for assault and battery.
The lawsuit claims Vernon grabbed Olivarez's shoulder in an aggressive manner suggesting an imminent physical attack that was unjustified and designed to embarrass and humiliate Olivarez.
It also says the allegation of Olivarez grabbing a woman was not true.
However, an affidavit says Olivarez admitted to police he grabbed Smith's behind and even demonstrated how he did it.
Police said Olivarez even wrote the victim a letter of apology.
Olivarez' attorney said his client has no prior record and is defending himself from serious charges, that if convicted, could mean up to 10 years in prison and having to register as a sex offender.
The attorney said Olivarez is the victim of an assault and battery by the alleged Good Samaritan. He says they do not believe the original news story was fair, but can't say anything additional now because they want the case tried in court, not in the media.
He said Olivarez is not a bad guy and there is another side to this story.
Vernon didn't want to comment since he now has to hire an attorney to defend himself against the lawsuit.
Smith said she doesn't think good people should be sued for doing what's right.