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Ever since Manchester United confirmed they had re-signed Cristiano Ronaldo excitement has been at fever pitch. The winner of five Ballon d’Or trophies, one of the greatest players ever to play the game, back at the club where he made his name. It’s a football fairytale and Old Trafford cannot wait to welcome back one of its favourite sons.
But not everything around the Ronaldo story is as glamorous and glorious as his United return. Since 2017 the 36-year-old has vehemently denied an allegation of rape from 2009 that continue to dog him.
There is absolutely no doubt about Ronaldo’s brilliance on a football pitch, but in the Las Vegas courts, he is fighting a civil claim for over £50million.
It’s a story that continues to await its final outcome, but this is everything we know so far about the rape allegation that continue to hang over Ronaldo…
What is the allegation?
Ronaldo is alleged to have raped an American woman, Kathryn Mayorga, during a holiday to Las Vegas in the summer of 2009, just weeks before his move from United to Real Madrid. An allegation he has always denied.
On June 12, 2009, Ronaldo met Mayorga at the now-closed nightclub Rain, and they were pictured by paparazzi on that evening.
Mayorga has alleged that she was invited back to Ronaldo’s suite at the Palms Place Hotel, where it is alleged the rape took place. A day later, on June 13, 2009, Mayorga reported the alleged rape to police but opted against revealing her name or the name of her alleged attacker, or where the incident had taken place.
After hiring a lawyer Mayorga initiated civil proceedings against Ronaldo.
What action has been taken?
As a result of the civil action legal teams representing the two parties met in Las Vegas for mediation in January 2010. Ronaldo was not present at the talks.
That mediation reportedly led to Ronaldo agreeing to pay $375,000 (£270,000) to the complainant as a settlement, though there was no suggestion the settlement implied or accepted any wrongful conduct by the football star. In return Mayorga could not publicly discuss the allegations.
In 2018, a year after the allegation against the player was made public by a German newspaper, Ronaldo’s legal team accepted the 2010 settlement agreement did exist but reiterated Ronaldo had not admitted guilt.
“This agreement is by no means a confession of guilt,” a statement from his lawyers said in 2018. “What happened was simply that Cristiano Ronaldo merely followed the advice of his advisors in order to put an end to the outrageous accusations made against him, in order precisely to avoid attempts, such as those we are now witnessing, to destroy a reputation built thanks to hard work, athletic ability and behavioural correction.”
Las Vegas Police did re-investigate the alleged ‘sexual assault’ in 2018 and in January 2019 they requested a DNA sample from the footballer, and six months later they concluded Ronaldo would not face any criminal charges.
“Based on a review of the information presented at this time, the allegations of sexual assault against Cristiano Ronaldo cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” said the Clark County District Attorney’s office. “Therefore, no charges will be forthcoming.”
A spokesperson added: “She (Mayorga) refused to identify him or disclose where the crime occurred. 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. In addition, video evidence, showing interactions between the victim and perpetrator before and after the alleged crime, was lost.”
How did the allegation become public?
The allegation reached the public domain as a result of being reported by German newspaper Der Spiegel in 2017, as a result of their Football Leaks exposé, with documents revealing details of the case.
A document from the leaks allege Ronaldo said “she said no and stop several times” during sex. He is also said to have apologised afterwards. His legal team have said the document was “completely fabricated”.
In the initial story Mayorga remained anonymous and was referred to as “Susan K”. Ronaldo’s representatives labelled the April 2017 story “a piece of journalistic fiction”.
By September 2018 Mayorga waived her anonymity and conducted an in-depth interview with Der Spiegel, which is where much of the detail has come from. She has also hired a new legal team to pursue a civil lawsuit against Ronaldo.
What has Ronaldo said?
After Mayorga went public with the accusation in September 2018, Ronaldo initially labelled the story “fake news” in an Instagram video.
A few days later he issued a more detailed statement, which said: “I firmly deny the accusations being issued against me. Rape is an abominable crime that goes against everything that I am and believe in. Keen as I may be to clear my name, I refuse to feed the media spectacle created by people seeking to promote themselves at my expense.”
A few weeks later Ronaldo returned to Old Trafford with Juventus and was put forward for the pre-match press conference, where he was asked about the accusations.
“I am a happy man. We did the statement two weeks ago if I’m not wrong. I am glad of course, I’m not going to lie in this situation, I’m very happy. My lawyers, they are confident and of course I am too,” he said.
“The most important [thing] is I enjoy the football, I enjoy my life. The rest, I have people who take care of my life. Of course, the truth is always coming in the first position so I’m good.”
What happens next?
Las Vegas Police said no criminal charges will be forthcoming, whilst Mayorga is continuing to pursue Ronaldo for civil damages.
Her legal team is trying to get the 2010 settlement declared null and void, claiming she was mentally unfit to agree to the terms at the time. The case was filed in State Court in September 2018 before being moved to Federal Court in 2019.
In April The Mirror published court documents that showed Mayorga was pushing for £56.5million in damages. Ronaldo’s lawyers have since attempted to have the lawsuit dismissed, claiming Mayorga’s lawyers have used hundreds of documents from the Football Leaks website without declaring it to all parties.
A US District Judge will first make a decision of whether Mayorga did lack the mental capacity to sign a confidentially agreement and settlement in 2010, but a date has not yet been set for that hearing.
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