As Juventus continue to dominate Serie A, the rape allegations against Ronaldo continue to mount.

Paddy Agnew’s Notes From Italy: Rape Allegations Continue To Mount Against Ronaldo

In one sense, it just had to happen. Following a sensational seasonal start, the law of averages would suggest that something had to go wrong for Italian champions Juventus.
 
On Saturday, the Old Lady made it ten wins in ten official games played this season, eight in Serie A and two in the Champions League, when she proved far too strong for  Udinese in a 2-0 away win. However, and perhaps inevitably, something had to go wrong…and perhaps it did three days earlier when it was revealed that the club’s iconic Portuguese star, Cristiano Ronaldo, is facing an accusation of rape.
 
As half the world now knows, 34-year-old US citizen Kathryn Mayorga has accused Ronaldo of raping her in a Las Vegas hotel in June, 2009. Furthermore, her lawyers have filed a lawsuit seeking unspecified damages of at least $200,000 dollars.    
 
The lawsuit itself looks distinctly “heavy” since it accuses Ronaldo or those working for him of 11 different wrongdoings –  conspiracy, defamation, abusing a vulnerable person, battery, infliction of emotional distress, coercion and fraud, racketeering and conspiracy, breach of contract, abuse of process and negligence for allowing details of a previous confidential settlement between Ronaldo and Ms. Mayorga to become public.
 
Faced with what are clearly serious accusations, Ronaldo has “firmly” denied all allegations calling rape “an abominable crime that goes against everything I am and believe in”, adding:
 
“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.”
 
Ms. Mayorga made her allegations in an interview with German magazine Der Spiegel, claiming that Ronaldo had invited her to his Las Vegas hotel and then forced her to have sex with him. At the time, in 2009, she eventually arrived at a private settlement with Ronaldo, receiving $375,000 in exchange for a non-disclosure agreement which has obviously since been broken.
 
In a document filed to the District Court, Clark County, Nevada on September 27th by  law firm Stovall & Associates on behalf of Ms. Mayorga, her lawyers argue that the 2009 settlement is “void or voidable on the basis of incompetency, undue influence, coercion and/or fraud”. In other words, her lawyers argue that due to the trauma of the initial sexaul assault and also due to a “subsequent threat to publicly and falsely accuse her of extortion and false accusations”, Ms. Mayorga “was incompetent and lacked the mental capacity to participate in negotiations”.
 
She says that she has come forward now, nine years later, for three reasons – firstly, a belief that she can find justice with a new lawsuit, secondly she has been emboldened by the Me Too movement and thirdly she hopes that public attention from the case could cause other accusers to come forward.
 
Whatever about her first two reasons for denouncing Ronaldo, the third one has already come about with lawyer Leslie Stovall this week confirming that at least three other, so far unnamed women have come forward to make serious accusations against Ronaldo. One claims that she was raped, another that she was “injured” and a third that she too was forced into signing some form of non-disclosure agreement.
 
If people have come forward to make accusations against Ronaldo, so too have people come forward to defend him. His mother Dolores and his sister Katia have gone on social media to defend the player, saying that “#Ronaldo, we are with you to the end”.
 
Not only the player’s family but also Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa and Portugal’s national team coach Fernando Santos have also got in on the act.   Prime Minister Costa says that the principle of innocent until proved guilty applies to Ronaldo just as to anyone else, adding:
 
“If there is one thing we do know, it is that Cristiano Ronaldo is a real professional and an extraordinary athlete and footballer. He is a person who has honoured Portugal and has brought great prestige to Portugal and let’s hope that nothing will ever besmirch that image of Cristiano”.
 
Fernando Santos, the man who coached the Portugal team which Ronaldo led to a European Championship title in France two years ago, had this to say:
 
“I always stand by my players but this is more than an act of solidarity. Put simply, I believe what the player has publicly stated, that he considers rape an abominable crime and that he is innocent of every accusation.  I know Cristiano very well and for that reason I believe him…”
 
Not surprisingly, too, Ronaldo’s employers, Juventus, have stood by their man, saying that accusations “allegedly dating back to almost 10 years ago” do not change their high opinion of Ronaldo, a player of “great professionalism and dedication”.
 
In the meantime, of course, Ronaldo has been doing what he does best, namely scoring goals. Seemingly undisturbed by the worldwide media coverage of the rape accusations, he knocked home a spectacular second and winning goal in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat of Udinese, at the end of another impressive performance.
 
So there we have it. This was the week when feminisim and the #MeToo movement went head to head with football passion and one of the most famous footballers in the world. This was always going to be a head-on collision of frightening proportions. It remains to be seen just how much damage will be inflicted and on whom and on what.

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