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Verdicts & Settlements

Judge: Cristiano Ronaldo Rape Accusation Belongs in Arbitration, Not Court

— February 7, 2020

An attorney for the accuser, Kathryn Mayorga, claims his model-client had been diagnosed with a learning disability in her youth and was thus unable to consent to a non-disclosure agreement.

A U.S. magistrate judge has determined that a Nevada woman’s rape lawsuit against soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo should be moved out of the courts and into arbitration.

According to The Los Angeles Times, the suit was filed by Kathryn Mayorga.

Mayorga, a former teacher and model from Las Vegas, allegedly received $375,000 from Ronaldo as part of a confidential settlement in 2010. She then sued Ronaldo for more, saying he or his associates had violated its terms by leaking information to the press.

In her lawsuit, Mayorga claims that she met Ronaldo as a Las Vegas nightclub in 2009. The two later went to the soccer player’s suite, wherein Mayorga says she was sexually assaulted.

Ronaldo, though, has maintained the encounter was wholly consensual.

While Mayorga continues to accuse Ronaldo of rape, her claims hedge on Ronaldo or his associates having stepped outside the limits of the 2010 settlement. Her attorneys have pointed out that she never broke the confidentiality agreement. As such, Mayorga’s suit demands damages for conspiracy, defamation, breach of contract, coercion and fraud.

In sum, Mayorga hopes to void the confidentiality settlement while collecting an additional $200,000 or more from Ronaldo. Mayorga’s attorneys had hoped the case would be settled in court.

Soccer ball
Soccer ball; image courtesy of AnnRos via Pixabay,

But U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel Albregts recommended the settlement remain sealed, with any additional damages to be determined by an arbitrator. The Los Angeles Times and Associated Press note that, while Albregts had issued a similar verbal ruling in November, this decision was the first made in writing.

Albregts’ recommendation, adds The A.P., was sent to U.S. District Judge Jennifer Dorsey.

“The court finds that none of [Mayorga’s] arguments to invalidate the arbitration agreement have merit and it will compel all of her claims to arbitration,” Albregts wrote.

The Associated Press explains that magistrate judges, like Albregts, “handle court filings and pretrial arguments,” whereas district judges such as Dorsey deal with trials.

Ronaldo was also the subject of a criminal investigation by the Las Vegas Prosecutor’s Office. The Clark County District Attorney announced in August 2019 that it wouldn’t pursue charges against Ronaldo.

“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,” the office said in a statement. “Therefore, no charges will be forthcoming.”

Mayorga’s attorneys, for their part, say their client—25 at the time of the alleged assault—had learning disabilities as a child and was incapable of understanding a non-disclosure agreement, a claim Ronaldo’s legal team strictly denies.

Ronaldo has since claimed that information about the alleged sexual assault and subsequent settlement was leaked by hackers who had illegally accessed and sold his electronic data. His attorneys say that Mayorga’s claims have defamed the soccer player, who is among the richest athletes in the world.


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