Soccer superstar Christiano Ronaldo hit with sexual assault allegations
Christiano Ronaldo | Thibault Camus/AP

Another one bites the dust.

The world’s most famous athlete—as ranked by ESPN in 2016, ’17 and ’18, Christiano Ronaldo, now faces allegations of sexual assault dating back to 2009.

A lawsuit filed by Kathryn Mayorga, 34, says Ronaldo assaulted her in the penthouse suite of a Las Vegas Hotel, dispatched hired “fixers” to gum up the criminal investigation, and offered a $375,000 bribe to keep her quiet.

According to the lawsuit, Mayorga, 24 at the time of the assault, was invited by a friend to go to the Rain Nightclub at the Palms Hotel and Casino the night of June 12, 2009, and met Ronaldo there.

At some time in the evening, Ronaldo invited a group of people, including Mayorga, to his suite to “enjoy the view of the Las Vegas strip.” Mayorga and other guests were invited by Ronaldo to the balcony.

Mayorga declined the invitation since she did not have a bathing suit or other suitable clothing. Ronaldo offered her clothing to wear. Mayorga accepted and followed him to a room where she was given shorts and a t-shirt to wear. As she was changing Ronaldo barged into the bathroom where she was changing, exposed himself and demanded oral sex.

After she refused, he allegedly raped her.

Mayorga asked police last month to reopen the criminal investigation. Las Vegas police confirmed to the Associated Press on Monday that they had reopened the case.

The story was first reported by Der Speigel last week.

Hours after the lawsuit was filed, Ronaldo denied the allegations on Instagram and Twitter saying: “Fake. Fake news, you want to promote by my name. It’s normal. They want to be famous, to say my name. But it is part of the job. I am a happy man and all good. 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.”

The lawsuit further accuses Ronaldo and those working for him of battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, coercion and fraud, abuse of a vulnerable person, racketeering and civil conspiracy, defamation, abuse of process, breach of contract, and negligence for allowing details of the confidential settlement to leak out.

“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,” says the lawsuit.

As a result of the lawsuit and pending investigation, Ronaldo has been removed from Portugal’s national team for a pair of upcoming matches.

Portuguese coach Fernando Santos said the decision was taken after a three-way conversation between him, Ronaldo, Tiago Craveiro, CEO of the Portuguese Football Federation.

“We agreed the player wouldn’t be available, wouldn’t be an option for selection,” Santos said. “For the next two squad selections, this one and the one next month, Ronaldo won’t be with us.”

Mayorga is seeking general, special, punitive and statutory damages, each in excess of $50,000, including interest, attorney fees and court costs.


Al Neal
Al Neal

Award winning journalist Al Neal is PW associate editor for labor and politics. He is also the chief photographer for People's World. He is a member of the Chicago News Guild, Society of Professional Journalists, Professional Photographers of America, National Sports Media Association, and The Ernest Brooks Foundation.