Ronaldo rape allegation moving on two legal tracks
LAS VEGAS (AP):
A lawsuit filed by a Nevada woman who claims Cristiano Ronaldo raped her nine years ago and paid her $375,000 in hush money has set in motion a two-track legal process in Las Vegas.
One involves the lawsuit, which will proceed to a jury trial in civil court only if a state judge sides with attorneys for plaintiff Kathryn Mayorga on key procedural and statutory questions.
The other track involves a police investigation that was recently reopened at the request of Mayorga, a former model and schoolteacher who alleges that one of the world's most famous athletes attacked her in the bedroom of his penthouse at a Las Vegas hotel in 2009.
Investigation not complete
At the end of the investigation, police will decide whether to recommend that prosecutors file criminal charges against the 33-year-old football star from Portugal, who plays for the Italian club Juventus and his national team. He has had lucrative contracts with other clubs , including Sporting Lisbon, Manchester United and Real Madrid.
The Associated Press does not generally name people who say they are victims of sex crimes. Mayorga gave consent through her lawyers to make her name public. Mayorga's attorneys say she underwent a medical exam to collect DNA evidence soon after the alleged attack in June 2009.
But the investigation was ended because Las Vegas police said she only identified her attacker as a European footballer not by name and did not say where the incident took place. The case was reopened in recent weeks at Mayorga's request. Her lawyers say she provided Ronaldo's name to detectives who interviewed her in 2009 and identified the location as the Palms Hotel and Casino.
Police will turn over the results of the investigation to Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson to decide whether to file criminal charges.
A jury of 12 people would have to reach a unanimous verdict of guilt for a conviction on a felony sexual assault charge that could bring a sentence ranging from 10 years to life in state prison, depending on whether the jury decides if Mayorga suffered substantial bodily injury.
Ronaldo's attorneys have not yet responded to the lawsuit filed by Mayorga on September 27 in Clark County District Court.
William Terry, a veteran Nevada criminal defence attorney not connected with the case, predicted that Ronaldo's legal team will ask the judge to dismiss the lawsuit before they reply to its claims.
"There will be a ton of issues to decide long before the case gets to a jury," Terry said after reviewing the lawsuit and statements by attorneys at the request of The Associated Press. "I think the whole complaint is vulnerable to dismissal."