Vegas lawyer: Ronaldo rape accuser ’emotionally fragile’
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A lawyer for a Nevada woman alleging that soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo raped her in Las Vegas in 2009 said Tuesday her client was “emotionally fragile” and agreed to an out-of-court financial settlement nine years ago because she never wanted her name made public.
Kathryn Mayorga is out of the U.S. and is not speaking with media about the lawsuit she filed last week seeking monetary damages from Ronaldo, attorney Larissa Drohobyczer told The Associated Press. Drohobyczer didn’t say where Mayorga was. She lives in the Las Vegas-area city of Henderson.
AP does not typically identify alleged victims of sexual assault, but Drohobyczer said Mayorga gave permission on Tuesday for her name to be used.
“She’s not going to be interviewed,” the attorney said. “At this time she’s emotionally fragile.”
The civil lawsuit filed in state court in Las Vegas alleges Ronaldo raped Mayorga, who was then 24, in his penthouse suite at a Las Vegas hotel and hired a team of what the document called “fixers” to shape the monetary settlement, obstruct a police criminal investigation and trick Mayorga into taking $375,000 to keep quiet.
An attorney for Ronaldo, Christian Schertz in Berlin, did not immediately respond to emails from AP. It was not immediately clear if the player had an attorney representing him in the matter in the U.S. After the German magazine Der Spiegel reported about the lawsuit last week, Schertz threatened to sue, saying the article violated Ronaldo’s personal rights “in an exceptionally serious way.”
In an Instagram video posted hours after the suit was filed, Ronaldo appears to deny the allegations.
“Fake. Fake news,” said the five-time world player of the year. “You want to promote by my name. It’s normal. They want to be famous, to say my name. But it is part of the job. I am a happy man and all good.”
Drohobyczer, who said she did not represent Mayorga in 2009 negotiations with Ronaldo’s representatives, acknowledged Mayorga accepted the settlement money.
No court document was filed, and Drohobyczer declined to identify the lawyers who handled the case at that time for Mayorga and for Ronaldo.
An attorney who may have represented Mayorga in 2009 did not respond Tuesday to messages from AP.
Drohobyczer said Mayorga, now 34, became worried that her name would become public after a 2017 media report apparently referred to the June 2009 incident at the Palms Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Mayorga was not a source for the article, Drohobyczer said.
Her client also was influenced in recent months by the #MeToo movement of women making public allegations of prior sexual assault, the attorney said.
Mayorga met Ronaldo at a nightclub, according to the lawsuit, and went with him and other people to his suite, where the alleged attack took place in a bedroom.
“She came to us and we had concerns with what happened in 2009 … with the police investigation and the circumstances around the settlement and how the negotiations were conducted,” Drohobyczer told AP.
“We don’t believe she had the capacity to enter an agreement at that time due to her emotional state,” Drohobyczer said. She characterized Mayorga in 2009 as emotionally damaged, fearful, depressed and humiliated after the alleged attack and pressure from Ronaldo’s representatives.
“We asked police to reopen the investigation and they did,” Drohobyczer said.
Officer Aden OcampoGomez, a Las Vegas police spokesman, said that because the investigation is open, the department would not make public a police report that Mayorga filed the day of the alleged attack. The lawsuit said Mayorga also went to a hospital, where a sexual assault medical examination was conducted.
However, Mayorga refused to tell police the location of the alleged attack or to identify a suspect other than to say he was a European soccer player, OcampoGomez said.
Ronaldo, 33, is a Portuguese citizen. He went from Manchester United to Real Madrid in 2009 for a then-record sum of 94 million euros, or about $130 million. He now plays for the Italian club Juventus.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages of at least $200,000. It makes 11 accusations against Ronaldo or those working for him, including conspiracy, defamation, abusing a vulnerable person, battery, infliction of emotional distress, coercion and fraud, racketeering and conspiracy, breach of contract, abuse of process and negligence for allowing details of the confidential settlement to become public.