Arguments in court Wednesday during a bond hearing for a longtime Kansas City restaurant owner charged with rape centered on the strength of the state’s case against him, the likelihood that he could flee to Mexico and the whereabouts of a gun safe reportedly stolen from his home while he was in custody.
At the hearing in Jackson County Court, Arturo Cabral, 44, sought to have his bond reduced from $500,000. He remained in the Jackson County Detention Center on Wednesday after a judge denied the request.
Cabral was charged with three counts of rape last month after prosecutors accused him of sexually assaulting two women.
Cabral’s attorney, Dan Ross, called the current bond amount “excessive” and noted that Cabral had remained in Kansas City to face charges even though he had been questioned by police months ago. “If the defendant wanted to flee, he could have,” Ross said. “The cases are weak.”
Prosecutors said the bond amount was appropriate, in part because Cabral is accused of offenses against a family friend in his own home.
“Who does this to their own family?” asked Chris Accurso, an assistant Jackson County prosecutor. Accurso maintained the state has evidence for a case against Cabral. “We have two different women making similar allegations, nine months apart.”
About 20 family members and friends of one of the alleged victims once again packed the courtroom after attending two previously scheduled bond hearings that were delayed. They delivered 30 letters to the judge Wednesday and said they didn’t want Cabral released.
After the judge denied the request, one relative said the family was pleased because they believe Cabral is dangerous. “I’d be worried for the women around him,” the relative said. “Women, people need to be safe, and that’s it.”
Cabral had been the longtime owner of El Patron on Southwest Boulevard, but a spokeswoman for the restaurant has said he no longer owns the business. Cabral has been accused of assaulting two women during separate incidents in 2015 and 2016.
One of the women, a 19-year-old, reportedly told police that Cabral raped her at his house in the Coleman Highlands neighborhood of Kansas City last June. In court Wednesday, the woman was described as a longtime family friend of Cabral.
A relative of the woman spoke in court Wednesday, asking the judge not to reduce Cabral’s bond. The alleged victim, she said, “came forward to protect herself and protect other women in Kansas City.”
The state’s evidence includes text messages Cabral and the woman exchanged after the alleged incident. Prosecutors said the messages told of a rape, while defense attorney Ross said they indicated a consensual encounter and a threat of a rape allegation.
The other alleged victim, a 32-year-old woman, told Kansas City police that she woke up in a hotel room hours after meeting Cabral for drinks, with no memory of what happened. A sexual assault examination turned up DNA matching Cabral, according to court documents.
Ross said the police report describing that encounter was “misleading” because it could be read as saying Cabral and the woman met for the first time at the bar on the Country Club Plaza. But, he said, they actually had known each other for a long time.
And while prosecutors suggested there was a chance Cabral could flee to Mexico if released, Ross argued that Cabral had only been there once, on vacation, in the past 20 years and had few or no close relatives there now.
Jackson County bond guidelines, and standard assessments of Cabral’s risk levels, suggested a lower bond, Ross said.
In arguing that Cabral remained a risk to the public, prosecutors noted that 20 firearms belonging to Cabral are missing after burglars reportedly took a large gun safe from his home during his last court appearance. Ross said police were notified, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is investigating.
Prosecutors also said they were concerned that Cabral appeared to be selling off possessions and at least one of his multiple homes.
Ross said Cabral still owned multiple homes and that, if released, he would reside at one of them in the Kansas City area. Ross said he would prefer not to specify the location in open court because Cabral had received threats.