Here’s why Cristiano Ronaldo is back in court over 2009 sexual assault claim

Here’s why Cristiano Ronaldo is back in court over 2009 sexual assault claim

The next time someone tells you that sexual assault allegations “ruin a man’s career,” you only have to point to Cristiano Ronaldo. It’s been nearly five years since the German outlet Der Spiegel published what it purported were leaked documents between Ronaldo’s attorneys regarding an alleged sexual assault he was accused of perpetrating in 2009, and Ronald remains the highest-paid athlete in the world, making even more money off the field than on it. And 2009 was the second time Ronaldo was accused of sexual assault.

To understand why Ronaldo’s attorneys were back in court last week arguing against reopening a civil case that was thrown out by a federal judge in 2022, you have to go all the way back to 2009, when Kathryn Mayorga, a formal model, and teacher in Las Vegas, accused Ronaldo of sexually assaulting her in a Vegas penthouse. Mayorga went to the police immediately after the assault and had her injuries documented and underwent a sexual assault examination but, as Mayorga refused to name her alleged rapist, or state where the assault took place, the case was never pursued. Mayorga also claims in her civil suit one LVPD officer repeatedly insisted that Mayorga “would be the subject of public humiliation” and would be branded a gold-digger if she publicly accused Ronaldo.

As for Ronaldo, he has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and claimed the sex was consensual. Mayorga would eventually enter into a confidential, out-of-court settlement with the soccer star for $375,000.

Der Spiegel has entered the chat

In 2017, Der Spiegel got their hands on what was supposedly the confidential settlement agreement between Ronaldo and Mayorga, courtesy of the site Football Leaks, an outlet that has caused havoc in European pro circles by publishing leaked documents online, mostly having to do with murky financial transactions undertaken by the European clubs and their owners. Der Spiegel published a story about the settlement agreement, saying:

“​​In the document, Susan K. (Mayorga) is referred to with the abbreviation, “Ms. P,” and Ronaldo is “Mr. D.” Clause No. 8 states that, “Ms. P agrees to provide to Mr. D the first names of any persons to whom she has disclosed her allegation of rape and the identity of Mr. D … she further represents that there are no other persons to whom she has made disclosures.”

In exchange for Mayorga not prosecuting the case criminally, Ronaldo paid her $375,000. In the event that she violated the agreement, say, for example, giving an interview to Der Spiegel in 2018 (which she did), Mayorga would have to pay back the $375,000 and cover any “damages” caused to Ronaldo by her actions.

In 2018, Mayorga dropped the pseudonym Der Spiegel had been using for her, gave a full interview about the night of the alleged assault, and revealed that she was filing a civil lawsuit against Ronaldo, alleging that she had been strong-armed into the settlement agreement:

Kathryn Mayorga says that at some point, all she could do was lie on the floor. “I was hysterical, I couldn’t even talk. I was completely unstable.” Her lawyer suggested at that point that the negotiations be stopped. “I was too unstable to sign that paper.” But, she says, she knew it was now, or never. “I was like: ‘I will never go through this again. This will break me next time. I cannot do this again. If I walk away now, having to do this again will just break me.’”

Ronaldo did not attend the mediation, so Mayorga insisted she be allowed to send him a letter. That letter was obtained and printed, in part, by Der Spiegel.

“I screamed NO NO NO NO NO NOOOO over and over I begged you to stop.”

“You jumped on me from behind,” she writes, “with a white rosary on your neck!! What would God think of that!!! What would God think of you!!!”

“I hope you realize what you have done and learned from this terrible mistake!! Don’t take another woman’s life as you did mine!!”

“I don’t care about your money that was the last thing I wanted!! I wanted justice! There really is ‘no justice’ in this case.”

Subsequent reporting by Der Spiegel calls into question whether Ronaldo’s attorneys actually provided him with Mayorga’s letter.

The civil suit begins

But by 2018, Mayorga had a new attorney, Lelise Stovall, and, equally importantly, the #MeToo movement had swept across the United States, taking down dozens of powerful men in its wake, including the Hollywood producer, Havey Weinstein, once thought untouchable by his sexual assault victims. Mayorga filed a civil suit against Ronaldo, seeking $50 million in damages. According to Stovall, the settlement agreement was not legally binding, as Mayorga had not been legally competent at the time it was signed. Stovall claims that at the time she signed the settlement, Mayorga was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression as a result of the assault. But Stovall also told Der Spiegel that Ronaldo’s legal team had obstructed the investigation of the criminal case in order to force Mayorga into agreeing to the settlement. In her complaint, Mayorga alleges that Ronaldo hired a team of “fixers” to investigate her, her family, and her friends in order to prevent the public disclosure of the sexual assault allegation, as well as investigating and “assessing” the LVPD.

By that time, Der Spiegel had obtained internal documents between Ronaldo and his attorneys, including what was purportedly an internal 27-page questionnaire that Ronaldo filled out for his attorneys, which, if genuine, was incredibly damning for the soccer star. As a result of Mayorga’s civil suit, the Las Vegas Police reopened an investigation into the alleged sexual assault, but eventually determined that there was not enough evidence to prosecute the case, though LVPD reportedly thought the case was strong enough that they obtained a warrant for Ronaldo’s arrest.

That gets us to 2022, when a federal court dismissed Mayorga’s case and fined Stovall for “bad-faith conduct.” That conduct was the solicitation and inclusion of the leaked documents between Ronaldo and his team that were included in Mayorga’s complaint in support of her allegation that Ronaldo’s team obstructed and prevented the criminal investigation of their client, Ronaldo. The source of those documents was Football Leaks — the same source that provided documents to Der Spiegel. Federal Judge Jennifer Dorsey stated in her opinion dismissing Mayorga’s suit with prejudice that the use of those documents in the complaint tainted the case beyond repair, writing, “Nothing less than a with-prejudice dismissal will purge the taint that has permeated this case from its very inception and preserve the integrity of the litigation process.”

Last week, Mayorga’s appeal of that dismissal was held in front of a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. A ruling is expected in a matter of weeks.

Deadspin reached out to the attorney for Mayorga, Stovall, but he had not responded to our messages at the time of publication.

Original source here

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.