UK police urged to reopen rape case against Ronaldo
● England’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) should re-examine its decision to drop a 2005 London-based rape allegation against Cristiano Ronaldo, MPs and campaigners said late on Friday.
Women’s groups and MPs expressed concern after it emerged that the case against the Portuguese footballer was dismissed in less than a month.
Questions were also raised over the revelation that one of his accusers suddenly decided to withdraw her complaint without explanation.
Ronaldo, who is one of the biggest names in world football, with marketing endorsements worth hundreds of millions of dollars, is facing an allegation of rape in the US dating to 2009.
He is accused of sexually assaulting Kathryn Mayorga, 33, at the Palm Casino resort in Las Vegas.
Revisit the decision not to prosecute
It is claimed he paid her a reported $375,000 to buy her silence that she alleges to have been coerced into signing. But her lawyers have now issued a summons for which he has 20 days to respond.
As part of the case, Mayorga’s lawyers are now appealing for the two women from the 2005 case in London to come forward.
Jess Phillips, the Labour MP who sits on the women and equalities committee, called for the CPS to reopen the 2005 case, and to look into the second allegation which was dropped.
“The CPS should be looking at those cases and re-contacting the victims to ask if they would like the process restarted,” she said.
Phillips also called for an “enormous review and overhaul” of how gagging orders are used in abuse cases: “In light of the Ronaldo and Weinstein cases, there needs to be a proper look back of every lawyers’ firm that has been written a non-disclosure agreement where a sexual crime has occurred,” she said.
Dark time for prosecuting
Campaigners have also suggested that the police and prosecutors ought to revisit the decision not to prosecute Ronaldo in London.
Rachel Krys, co-founder of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, said 2005 was a “dark time” for prosecuting serious sexual offences, and said it was vital victims could have complete confidence in the system. She said: “There is a strong case for the CPS re-examining any file from 2005 and ensuring the decision to drop the case then was the correct one.
“It is essential that the police and prosecution service do everything in their power to ensure justice is done.”
The footballer and his cousin, Nonu Aveiro, were arrested in October 2005 after being accused of raping two women in the penthouse suite of the Sanderson Hotel.
The incident allegedly took place in the early hours of Sunday, October 2 following a match between Manchester United and Fulham. The women, who were French, told police that the star and his companion had sexually assaulted them both.
One of the women, who lived in Paris at the time, withdrew her allegation a short time later, but the London-based woman continued with the complaint.
On November 24, the CPS announced there was insufficient evidence to proceed with the case.
Meanwhile, Ronaldo is facing the prospect of multimillion-dollar claims from sponsors if
We are deeply concerned by the disturbing allegations
In a statement regarding Ronaldo
Mayorga’s rape allegation against him is proven, according to a leading sports lawyer.
Simon Leaf, who specialises in commercial contracts for Mishcon de Reya, also believes that other sports stars and celebrities will be looking carefully at the legal precedent in relation to Kathryn Mayorga’s attempt to void a reported $375,000 nondisclosure agreement that she alleges to have been coerced into signing.
Ronaldo has denied the accusation, saying “rape is an abominable crime that goes against everything that I am and believe in”.
Top 10 celebrity earners in the world.
There was some surprise late this week among industry experts at the decision by two of Ronaldo’s highest-profile sponsors, Nike and EA Sports, to issue public statements. Nike said that it was “deeply concerned” by “disturbing” allegations that it would monitor closely. EA Sport also described the situation as “concerning”.
Forbes has estimated that Ronaldo’s social media presence, which includes 142.9 million Instagram followers, generates some $176m for his sponsors. He also has an extensive line of branded “CR7” products, including Pestana hotels and his own museum, the Museu CR7, and is rated by Forbes in the top 10 celebrity earners in the world.
He is one of only three athletes to have a lifetime contract with Nike, which has been valued at $1billion, and Leaf is certain that all his major sponsors will be now checking the detail of their contracts. — © The Daily Telegraph, London