Cristiano Ronaldo ‘firmly denies’ rape claim

Portuguese star footballer faces accusations by American model of 2009 sex assault

Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo in the stands to watch his team take on BSC Young Boys in the Uefa Champions League group game at the Allianz Stadium in Turin, Italy, on October 2, 2018.
Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo in the stands to watch his team take on BSC Young Boys in the Uefa Champions League group game at the Allianz Stadium in Turin, Italy, on October 2, 2018.
Image: REUTERS/Massimo Pinca

Cristiano Ronaldo has denied accusations by a former American model that he raped her in a Las Vegas hotel in 2009 and said his conscience is clear.

Ronaldo’s denial came as lawyers for his accuser said they had obtained damning correspondence between the footballer and his legal team.

The case has threatened the reputation of the Portuguese superstar, arguably the world’s best footballer, with Las Vegas police saying they would reopen their file on the matter.

“I firmly deny the accusations being issued against me,” Ronaldo tweeted in Portuguese and English.

“Rape is an abominable crime that goes against everything I am and believe in,” the 33-year-old Juventus forward, formerly of Real Madrid, said.

“My clear conscious [sic] will thereby allow me to await with tranquillity the results of any and all investigations,” he added on his Twitter feed @Cristiano, which has nearly 75-million followers.

Kathryn Mayorga, 34, of Las Vegas, accused Ronaldo in a 32page lawsuit filed in September with a district court in Nevada, of raping her on June 13 2009.

Las Vegas police said this week they were reopening a case filed on that date but did not identify the victim or the alleged perpetrator by name.

Complicating the case, Jacinto Rivera, a spokesperson for the department, said that Mayorga did not identify Ronaldo by name at the time of her complaint and was “unco-operative”.

Mayorga’s lawsuit, however, said she had named the footballer to police “within weeks of the initial report”.

Larissa Drohobyczer, one of Mayorga’s lawyers, told reporters that whistle-blowing website Football Leaks had provided documents that showed correspondence between Ronaldo and his team of fixers around the time of the incident, which they are considering making public.

According to the leak, Ronaldo allegedly told his fixers in his written correspondence to them: “She said ‘no’ and ‘stop’ several times.”

Mayorga alleges she was pressured into signing a nondisclosure agreement in 2010 to keep the alleged rape secret and is seeking at least $200,000 (R2.9m) in penalties and damages.

The complaint was first reported by the German magazine Der Spiegel.

Lawyers for Ronaldo have reportedly threatened to sue the magazine over the story.

Lawyers for Cristiano Ronaldo said on September 28 2018, they would sue German magazine Der Spiegel after it published "blatantly illegal" accusations by an American woman who alleges she was raped by the Portuguese soccer star in 2009.

In the suit, Mayorga said she met Ronaldo, who was then 24, on the evening of June 12 2009 at the Rain Nightclub in the Palms Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

It said she accepted an invitation to join Ronaldo and others in his penthouse suite to “enjoy the view of the Las Vegas strip”.

She was invited to join guests in a hot tub but declined because she did not have a bathing suit, according to the complaint.

Ronaldo offered her clothing and then followed her into a bathroom where she was going to change clothes.

After she refused his demand to perform oral sex and said she wanted to leave, Ronaldo allegedly pulled her into a bedroom and anally raped her while she screamed “no, no, no”, the suit said.

“When Cristiano Ronaldo completed the sexual assault of the plaintiff, he allowed her to leave the bedroom stating he was sorry, he was usually a gentleman,” it said.

The lawsuit said Mayorga reported the alleged assault to police the same day and was examined at a local hospital.

It said the assault left her with “severe emotional and bodily injuries, including but not limited to, anal contusions, post-traumatic stress disorder and major depression”.

Under pressure from Ronaldo’s “fixers”, Mayorga settled the case “in exchange for a payment of $375,000 [R5.5m] and non-disclosure of the sexual assault”, the lawsuit said.

It claimed the agreement should be voided because she was “incompetent and lacked the mental capacity to participate in negotiations and settlement of her claims due to the injuries suffered during the initial sexual assault”.

Leslie Stovall, another lawyer for Mayorga, told reporters his client had suffered years of trauma from the alleged attack, but had found the strength to speak out thanks to the #MeToo movement.

Meanwhile, Portuguese football federation president Fernando Gomes came out on Wednesday to offer his support to Ronaldo.

“I believe what he said because I’ve known Ronaldo for many years and I can attest to his good character,” he said.

Gomez said he stood in “total solidarity” with Ronaldo “at a moment in which his reputation is under question”.

And on Thursday, Portugal’s national coach, Fernando Santos, said Ronaldo would not take part in Portugal’s next four internationals.

He refused to give any reasons.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner missed the two internationals Portugal played in September.

At the time, Santos suggested that his absence was temporary and intended to help him adapt after his move from Real Madrid to Juventus.

Ronaldo was left out of the national team announced on Thursday for upcoming international matches.