LAS VEGAS — A Las Vegas woman has publicly come forward with rape allegations against soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.
Kathryn Mayorga says the Portuguese footballer raped her in a Las Vegas hotel in 2009 while she repeatedly screamed no, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in Clark County.
After the attack, according to the lawsuit, Ronaldo apologized, “stating he was sorry, he was usually a gentleman.” The lawsuit alleges that Ronaldo himself told his team of fixers that “she said ‘no’ and ‘stop’ several times.”
Mayorga’s lawsuit accuses Ronaldo and his team of taking advantage of her fragile emotional state to coerce her into signing a settlement and nondisclosure agreement in 2009. She claims she received $375,000 in exchange for her silence; her lawsuit seeks to void the settlement and agreement.
When reached by CNN, Mayorga’s attorney declined to comment beyond what was said in the lawsuit.
Ronaldo’s representatives denied the rape allegations when German publication Der Spiegel first reported them in 2017. After the outlet broke news of the lawsuit Friday in an interview with Mayorga, Ronaldo’s lawyer called the reporting “blatantly illegal.”
“It violates the personal rights of our client Cristiano Ronaldo in an exceptionally serious way. This is an inadmissible reporting of suspicions in the area of privacy,” lawyer Christian Schertz said in a statement.
Ronaldo appeared to dispute the claims in an Instagram live post on Friday: “What they said today, fake — fake news. They want to promote by my name. It’s normal. They want to be famous — to say my name. Yeah but it’s part of the job. I’m (a) happy man and all, all good.”
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,” who are unnamed defendants. The lawsuit alleges they monitored Mayorga, her friends and family as well as 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. 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 team 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 she was not named in it. But she later told Der Spiegel that she had followed the online reaction closely. She took 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.