It looks like investigation of old sexual assault allegations isn’t just for Supreme Court nominees and fallen comedians; the world of soccer just became the latest flashpoint.
Cristiano Ronaldo, the world’s third-highest-paid athlete, according to Forbes, behind only Floyd Mayweather and Argentine soccer star Lionel Messi, is facing the possibility of a sexual assault allegedly committed in 2009 in Las Vegas getting dragged into a court of law.
According to ESPN, attorney Leslie Mark Stovall filed a complaint in Clark County District Court, the southernmost county in Nevada that includes Las Vegas and the surrounding area, alleging that Ronaldo sexually assaulted his client, Kathryn Mayorga.
Stovall specifically asked the Las Vegas Police Department to re-open its investigation into the criminal charges originally raised nine years ago.
Police confirmed that officers responded to a call on the date of the incident in Stovall’s complaint, according to ESPN, but the alleged victim “did not provide detectives with the location of the incident or suspect description.” A medical exam was conducted, but those results have not been released.
Referring to the re-opened cold case, police addressed that issue in a further statement, according to ESPN.
“As of September 2018, the case has been reopened and our detectives are following up on information being provided by the victim. This is an ongoing investigation and no further details will be released at this time.”
Ronald called the allegations “fake, fake news” and proclaimed his innocence, according to ESPN.
This raised the hackles of the accuser’s attorney. Stovall released a statement of his own castigating Ronaldo for his dismissive tone.
“Ms. Mayorga’s filed complaint, the physical evidence of her sexual assault, answers to written questions regarding the sexual assault attributed to Cristiano Ronaldo, the communications and conduct of the ‘team’ representing Cristiano Ronaldo, the circumstances surrounding the purported agreement for settlement and non disclosure, and the psychological injuries suffered by Ms. Mayorga are not ‘fake news,’” Stovall said, according to ESPN.
“Ms. Mayorga’s August 2018 decision to contact the police and participate in the criminal investigation of the June 13, 2009, sexual assault, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s current investigation of the June 13, 2009, sexual assault of Ms. Mayorga, and the existence of Nevada Revised Statute 171.083 removing the time limits for criminal prosecution of a sexual assault in the State of Nevada, are not ‘fake news.'”
In 2010, Ronaldo paid the woman $375,000 in an out-of-court settlement, ESPN reported.
The civil complaint alleges the woman was “coerced” into signing a nondisclosure agreement in return for the money, according to ESPN.
The new civil suit asks for over $50,000 each in general damages, special damages, punitive damages, and special relief, plus attorney’s fees, according to ESPN.
“The psychological trauma of the sexual assault, the fear of public humiliation and retaliation and the reiteration of those fears by law enforcement and medical providers left plaintiff terrified and unable to act or advocate for herself,” the lawsuit states, ESPN reported.
Ronaldo has been confrontational about coverage of the story, according to ESPN. When the German magazine Der Spiegel reported on the new allegations, Ronaldo threatened to sue them for using his name in the story, another ESPN reported Friday.
“You want to promote by my name. It’s normal,” Ronaldo said, according to ESPN’s report Monday. “They want to be famous, to say my name. But it is part of the job. I am a happy man and all good.”
In 2017, when Der Spiegel broke the story of the 2010 out-of-court settlement, Ronaldo’s management company, Gestifute, called it “journalistic fiction,” according to ESPN.
According to ESPN, Mayorga cited the #MeToo movement as among her reasons for coming forward.
Through her lawyer, Mayorga said she hopes to encourage more victims of sexual assault to come forward against their tormentors, “no matter how famous, wealthy or powerful they may appear to be.”
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