September 19, 2019
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Soccer great Cristiano Ronaldo admits payment to rape accuser

 Cristiano Ronaldo. EFE-EPA/Kiko Huesca/File

Cristiano Ronaldo. EFE-EPA/Kiko Huesca/File

Washington, Aug 20 (efe-epa).- Attorneys representing soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo acknowledged that the Portuguese striker paid $375,000 to a woman who accused him of rape in 2009, CNN reported Tuesday, citing a court filing.

Kathryn Mayorga received the money under a 2010 settlement whose purpose was "to maintain the confidentiality of their dispute," the athlete's lawyers said.

Ronaldo, 34, has always insisted that his sexual encounter with Mayorga in a Las Vegas hotel suite was consensual.

Last year, Mayorga asked a Nevada state court to overturn the 2009 settlement, claiming that Ronaldo's team of attorneys, agents, publicists and other "fixers" coerced her into signing the accord.

Mayorga's counsel subsequently resubmitted the suit in federal court and the document cited by CNN was part of the brief submitted by Ronaldo's lawyers calling for the case to be dismissed.

The footballer's attorneys wrote that Mayorga has failed to provide evidence substantiating the claim that her emotional and mental state in the wake of the alleged assault rendered her incapable of giving informed consent to any agreement.

"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," Mayorga's lawsuit says.

Mayorga, who was 25 at the time, reported the alleged rape within hours of the episode in Ronaldo's suite, but declined to identify the perpetrator, prompting police to drop the enquiry.

She says that when she came forward later and named Ronaldo as her assailant, a police detective warned her of retaliation, echoing the advice Mayorga purportedly received from a nurse at the hospital following the incident.

Police in Las Vegas reopened the criminal investigation in August 2018 at Mayorga's request, but the district attorney's office announced last month that no charges would be filed.

The 2010 settlement was not an admission of responsibility or wrongdoing, Ronaldo's lawyers said in their brief.

"The (agreement) made clear Mr. Ronaldo disputed (Mayorga's) allegations and in no way conceded she was injured. To the contrary, the (agreement) stated in no uncertain terms that Mr. Ronaldo was agreeing to pay (Mayorga) a sum of money in order to maintain the confidentiality of their dispute," the attorneys wrote.

Ronaldo's encounter with Mayorga came while he was in Las Vegas to celebrate his transfer from Manchester United to Real Madrid, where he would go on to win multiple domestic and European championships and be honored five times with the Ballon d'Or as the world's best footballer.

The Portugal international now plays for Juventus. EFE

asl/dr

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