Cristiano Ronaldo will not face sexual assault charges in Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS — Soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo will not face sexual assault charges in Las Vegas, the Clark County District Attorney’s Office said Monday, July 22.
The allegations, which were first made in 2009, cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, the office said in a statement.
CNN has reached out to attorneys for Ronaldo and for his accuser, Kathryn Mayorga.
Representatives for the Portuguese footballer, who currently plays for Juventus, have repeatedly denied the allegations since German publication Der Spiegel first reported them in 2017.
Speaking through representatives, he has maintained the encounter was consensual.
But Mayorga said she was raped and then coerced into silence.
Mayorga filed a lawsuit in 2018 accusing Ronaldo of raping her in a Las Vegas hotel penthouse. The lawsuit also accused Ronaldo and his team of taking advantage of her fragile emotional state to coerce her into signing a settlement and nondisclosure agreement. She claims she received $375,000 in exchange for her silence.
The two met at the now-closed Rain nightclub inside the Palms Hotel and Casino on June 13, 2009, the complaint says.
Ronaldo invited her 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.”
After the attack, according to the lawsuit, Ronaldo apologized and said “he was usually a gentleman.” The lawsuit alleges that Ronaldo told his representatives that “she said ‘no’ and ‘stop’ several times.”
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 face retaliation and her actions would be portrayed as extortion attempts, according to the lawsuit. A nurse who examined her shared the same sentiment, Mayorga said 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” who monitored Mayorga and law enforcement to develop a strategy to prevent the public disclosure of the allegations and criminal prosecution, the lawsuit alleged.
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.
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 lawsuit, which seeks to void the settlement and agreement, was originally filed in state court. It was refiled in 2019 in federal court, where it is still active.
Why prosecutors declined to bring charges
The Clark County District Attorney’s Office confirmed on Monday that Mayorga called police to report the incident on June 13.
Detectives met her at the hospital, but she refused to identify the perpetrator or disclose where the crime occurred, the statement said.
“As a result, the police were unable to follow investigative protocols for sexual assault cases or to conduct any meaningful investigation. Without knowing the identity of the perpetrator or the location of the crime, detectives were unable to search for and impound vital forensic evidence,” according to the statement.
“In addition, video evidence, showing interactions between the victim and perpetrator before and after the alleged crime, was lost.”
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department reopened the case at her request in August 2018, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
The request for prosecution was sent to the district attorney’s office in July, the statement said.
“Based upon a review of the information presented at this time, the allegations of sexual assault against Cristiano Ronaldo cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Therefore, no charges will be forthcoming,” the statement said.
Mayorga’s lawyer told CNN in 2018 that she was inspired to come forward by the #MeToo movement.
By that time, a sports website had already leaked copies of documents and communications from the mediation discussions to Der Spiegel, which had published a detailed account of the allegations in April 2017.
Mayorga retained legal counsel, fearful that she might be linked to the article — and deemed in violation of the settlement — even though she did not speak to Der Spiegel and was not named in the article, her lawyer Larissa Drohobyczer told CNN in 2018.
She decided to move forward with the lawsuit after her team obtained corroboration of her account, Drohobyczer said.
In a interview later published by Der Spiegel in 2018, 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.