Vegas lawyer: Ronaldo rape accuser 'emotionally fragile'

ABS-CBN Sports on Oct 03, 2018 07:30 AM
Vegas lawyer: Ronaldo rape accuser 'emotionally fragile'
FILE - In this Aug. 25, 2018 file photo Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo looks to the sky as he reacts during the Serie A soccer match between Juventus and Lazio at the Allianz Stadium in Turin, Italy. Ronaldo is being sued by a Nevada woman who said he raped her in the penthouse suite of a Las Vegas hotel in 2009 and then dispatched a team of “fixers” to obstruct the criminal investigation and trick her into keeping quiet for $375,000. The suit filed Thursday asks the Clark County District Court to void the 2010 settlement and non-disclosure agreement, claiming the woman was so traumatized by the events that she was incapable of participating in negotiations. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno, file)

By Ken Ritter, Associated Press

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Lawyers for a Nevada woman accusing Cristiano Ronaldo of raping her nine years ago said Wednesday that their client has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress and depression, conditions they argue would have made her legally incompetent to reach a non-disclosure agreement.

Kathryn Mayorga didn't appear with her lawyers at a news conference in Las Vegas the same day that Ronaldo denied the rape accusations, using Twitter to say he had a "clear conscience" as he awaits results "of any and all investigations."

"I firmly deny the accusations," he said. "Rape is an abominable crime that goes against everything that I am and believe in. Keen as I may be to clear my name, I refuse to feed the media spectacle created by people seeking to promote themselves at my expense."

Mayorga's attorney Larissa Drohobyczer told reporters the psychiatrist's recent medical opinion was that Mayorga's psychological injuries were "caused by Cristiano Ronaldo's sexual assault in 2009."

The doctor, Norton Roitman in Las Vegas, did not immediately respond to messages from The Associated Press.

Mayorga suffered several months of severe emotional stress and coercion by Ronaldo's representatives to push Mayorga into taking a monetary settlement to keep quiet, her lawyers said.

"These injuries rendered Kathryn incompetent to participate in the negotiations and settlement and nondisclosure in 2010," Drohobyczer said.

The argument previews claims Drohobyczer and law partner Leslie Stovall would make when asking a judge to void the non-disclosure agreement that the attorneys say Mayorga signed while accepting a $375,000 payment from Ronaldo.

The AP does not typically identify alleged victims of sexual assault, but Drohobyczer and Stovall spoke of Mayorga on Wednesday by name. Drohobyczer told the AP on Tuesday that Mayorga gave consent to have her name made public.

A civil lawsuit filed last week in state court also seeks monetary damages that Stovall said could, counting compensatory and punitive damages, amount to many times more than the minimum $200,000 sought under Nevada state law.

Although she asked police to reopen the investigation, Stovall said he had not asked Mayorga if she wants Ronaldo imprisoned for rape.

Attorney David Chesnoff in Las Vegas, who was hired Wednesday by Ronaldo, issued a statement "categorically" denying the allegations and expressing "complete faith in the justice system."

Chesnoff said Las Vegas police investigated Mayorga's sexual assault claim in 2009 and did not recommend the filing of criminal charges.

Stovall said the lawsuit served as Mayorga's legal team's response to Ronaldo's denials.

The civil lawsuit filed Sept. 27 in state court in Las Vegas alleges Ronaldo raped Mayorga in his penthouse suite at a Las Vegas hotel and hired a team of what the document called "fixers" to pressure Mayorga to keep quiet.

Earlier this week, the 33-year-old Portuguese player used social media to label the allegation "fake news."

Drohobyczer acknowledged that Mayorga accepted the money nine years ago because she never wanted her name made public.

Ronaldo, a five-time world player of the year, now plays for Italian club Juventus. In 2009, he went from Manchester United in England to Real Madrid in Spain for a then-record sum of 94 million euros, or about $130 million.

The lawsuit alleges that Mayorga met Ronaldo at a nightclub and went with him and other people to his suite, where the alleged attack took place in a bedroom.

Las Vegas police said they would not be releasing the report that Mayorga filed the day she said she was attacked, because the investigation is open.

Drohobyczer declined to immediately make the document public Wednesday.

The lawsuit said Mayorga also went to a hospital, where a rape kit examination was conducted.

Stovall said he did not know the status of testing on what could amount to DNA evidence.

Police said Mayorga didn't immediately say in June 2009 where the alleged attack happened or identify a suspect other than to say he was a European soccer player.

Drohobyczer said previously that Mayorga, now 34, filed the lawsuit now because she became worried that her name would become public after a 2017 media report apparently referred to the incident at the Palms Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Mayorga also was influenced in recent months by the #MeToo movement of women going public with allegations of prior sexual assault, Drohobyczer said.

The civil lawsuit in Clark County District Court accuses Ronaldo or those working for him of acts of conspiracy, coercion and fraud, defamation, battery, breach of contract and negligence for allowing details of the confidential settlement to become public.

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AP Sports Writer Chris Lehourites in London contributed to this report.

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