- Kathryn Mayorga claims she received $375,000 in exchange for her silence; her lawsuit seeks to void the settlement and agreement
A Las Vegas woman has filed a lawsuit accusing soccer star, Cristiano Ronaldo, of raping her in 2009, then paying her $375,000 to stay quiet about it. Here are the shocking details.
Soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the greatest players in soccer history, was accused of raping a woman in Las Vegas in 2009 and then paying her $375,000 to keep it secret, according to a civil complaint filed in Nevada district court last Thursday.
The woman, Kathryn Mayorga, 34, said in the complaint that the alleged assault nine years ago continues to cause her severe distress and that she was coerced into signing a nondisclosure agreement at the time.
Ronaldo and his lawyers, “knowing that the plaintiff was a ‘vulnerable person’… repeatedly threatened to falsely and publicly accuse the plaintiff of consenting to sexual intercourse with the defendant in order to accuse the defendant of sexual assault to obtain money,” according to the complaint filed in Clark County, Nev. The complaint seeks damages and penalties in excess of $200,000.
News of the suit was first reported by the German magazine Der Spiegel. Ronaldo, who joined Italian club Juventus this season in a $117 million deal, denied any wrongdoing, and a lawyer for Ronaldo in Germany called Der Spiegel’s report “blatantly illegal.”
The alleged attack
Mayorga met Ronaldo at the Palms Hotel and Casino on June 13, 2009, the complaint says. Ronaldo invited her, her friend and others to his penthouse suite. According to Mayorga’s lawsuit, Ronaldo asked her to join the group in a jacuzzi and gave her shorts and a T-shirt to wear.
As Mayorga changed in a bathroom, she said Ronaldo approached her, exposed himself and asked her for oral sex. Mayorga said she refused, but that Ronaldo pulled her into a bedroom and raped her as she screamed, “No, no, no.”
The same day, she reported the incident to police and went to the hospital for a sexual assault examination, the lawsuit says.
Initially, she refused to identify Ronaldo to police, fearing public humiliation, her complaint says. Weeks later, when she named him in a police interview, a detective told her that she would be subjected to retaliation and her actions portrayed as extortion attempts, according to the lawsuit. A nurse who examined her said the same thing, she says in the lawsuit.
“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 claims.
Meanwhile, Ronaldo had retained a team of “fixers” that the lawsuit calls “personal reputation protection specialists” and are unnamed defendants. The lawsuit alleges they monitored Mayorga, her friends and family, and law enforcement to “develop and implement a strategy” to prevent or delay public disclosure of the allegations and criminal prosecution of Ronaldo. The team communicated with Mayorga’s lawyer at the time, who agreed to private mediation with them. Mayorga’s lawyer did not follow up with Las Vegas police, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit accuses Ronaldo of battery for sodomizing her. Additional claims against him and his representatives include intentional infliction of emotional distress, coercion and fraud, and abuse of a vulnerable person.
In mediation discussions, Ronaldo’s representatives led her to believe they were attempting to compensate her for her injuries, and that agreeing to the settlement precluded her from cooperating with police. In reality, the lawsuit claims, his team was attempting to obstruct a criminal investigation and erode Mayorga’s credibility, thus diminishing her chances of pursuing a claim for civil damages. The allegations form the basis of Mayorga’s claims of coercion and fraud, racketeering and civil conspiracy, and abuse of process.
Her family, who lives in Las Vegas, attended mediation to provide her with emotional support and advice. But they were excluded from discussions by Ronaldo’s team and the mediator, according to the lawsuit.
Knowing she was a “vulnerable person,” his team reinforced the threat of public humiliation if she or anyone else publicly disclosed her allegations or cooperated with law enforcement, her complaint says. They threatened to portray her as having consented to sex and then making a false claim so she could extort Ronaldo for money.
Mayorga described mediation “as re-experiencing the sexual assault,” an ordeal marked by “extreme fearfulness, complete helplessness and eventually a sense of passivity where she would do anything just to be able to leave/escape/avoid revisiting the sexual assault by continuing the mediation,” the lawsuit says.
Over the years that Mayorga maintained her silence, her emotional health suffered under the weight of post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the lawsuit. She says she struggled to maintain relationships or hold down a job.
Then, a sports website leaked copies of documents and communications between Ronaldo and his team relevant to the mediation to Der Spiegel, which published a detailed account of the allegations in April 2017. Mayorga’s lawsuit claims that she obtained them and handed them over to Las Vegas police in August. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department did not reply to a request for comment over the weekend.
One of the purported documents, quoted in the lawsuit, calls the settlement “incredibly favorable” given the nature of Mayorga’s claims and the potential impact they could have on his personal and professional reputation, including endorsement opportunities. And, the document says, it avoided the potentially “catastrophic effect” of not letting him travel in the United States.
Ronaldo’s representatives forcefully denied Der Spiegel’s account and threatened legal action against the publication. They called the account a “journalistic fiction” that contained “unattributable and unsubstantiated allegations” that were “untruthful and false,” according to the lawsuit. Their denials form the defamation claims in Mayorga’s lawsuit.
Mayorga did not participate in the article and was not named in it. In a later interview published by Der Spiegel on Saturday, in which she was identified for the first time, she said that she had followed the online reaction to the original story closely. She had taken notice of comments about the athlete’s desirability, she told the magazine, including statements to the effect of, “As if Ronaldo even needs to rape a woman.”
Those statements mirrored thoughts she once had about Ronaldo, she told the magazine. But she wasn’t going to be silent any more.
Ronaldo has been considered one of the world’s best — if not the best — player for a decade. He’s played for the top clubs, including Spain’s Real Madrid and England’s Manchester United, and joined Juventus this summer for a reported $117 million transfer fee.
He won 2017’s Ballon d’Or, given to the best male player in the world. It marked his fifth time hoisting the trophy, a feat matched only by Argentina/Barcelona star Lionel Messi. He counts a lifetime Nike deal among his many endorsements.
The father of four is well-known for his philanthropy, especially when it comes to children’s causes. Last year, he ran afoul of Spanish authorities, who accused him of tax evasion. He settled the case in June, paying a $21.8 million fine, according to Spanish newspaper El Mundo.