Civil lawsuit sparks sex assault probe targeting Ronaldo
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Las Vegas police say they have reopened a criminal investigation into a woman's claim that international soccer star Ronaldo sexually assaulted her in June 2009.
Kathryn Mayorga, who at the time was a budding model and working in the Rain nightclub at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, has filed a civil suit against Ronaldo, alleging that she was coerced into signing a $375,000 settlement that included a nondisclosure agreement.
Her civil lawsuit, filed Sept. 27 in Clark County (Nev.) District Court, seeks more than $50,000 each in general damages, special damages, punitive damages and special relief, plus interest, legal fees and court costs.
"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," says the lawsuit, filed by her attorney, Leslie Mark Stovall.
Mayorga announced the existence of the settlement in an April 2017 article in the German news magazine Der Spiegel. She told Der Spiegel that the #MeToo movement of women going public with their stories of sexual abuse and harassment inspired her to speak up as well.
Ronaldo, the 33-year-old Juventus forward who is among the world's most famous athletes, dismissed the claims over the weekend as "fake, fake news."
Last week, Ronaldo's camp threatened to sue Der Spiegel for reporting on the lawsuit. Ronaldo then went on an Instagram Live chat to address the matter.
"You want to promote by my name. It's normal," Ronaldo said. "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 acknowledging that the criminal investigation is underway, police said they responded to a sexual assault call reported by Mayorga on the same date her lawsuit alleges. She says Ronaldo assaulted her in a hotel room in Las Vegas on June 13, 2009.
However, although a medical exam was made, Mayorga "did not provide detectives with the location of the incident or suspect description" at the time.
"As of September 2018, the case has been reopened and our detectives are following up on information being provided by the victim," a police statement said.
Nevada has no statute of limitations for prosecuting sexual assault cases.