German news magazine Der Spiegel released a report yesterday saying that Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo reached a $375,000 settlement in 2010 with a woman who alleged he raped her in a Las Vegas hotel. Gestifute, the sports agency that represents Ronaldo, later released a statement calling the report “journalistic fiction.”
The Der Spiegel article—based on lawyer and police documents provided by the document hacker group Football Leaks—details the night Ronaldo met the woman, who is given the pseudonym Susan K. The report goes on to describe when she and a friend went back to the hotel where she claims Ronaldo raped her, when she reported the incident to Las Vegas police, and on through the protracted legal negotiations before the two parties agreed on a settlement.
The report says this began on June 12, 2009, the day after Manchester United agreed to transfer Ronaldo to Real Madrid.
That night, Ronaldo and Susan K. met at a party. She gave him her phone number, and later he invited her and a friend up to his suite in the Palms Place Hotel. Der Spiegel’s report cites an emotional, nearly six-page long letter that Susan K. wrote to Ronaldo as part of the settlement agreement that describes her account of what happened in Ronaldo’s room. From the English translation of the article:
When K. arrived together with a girlfriend, she writes that Ronaldo and his friends climbed into the Jacuzzi. And that he offered her swimwear. She claims that he followed her as she went to change, and that the two kissed. But K. writes that this wasn’t enough for Ronaldo. She writes that she wanted to go back to the others. She continues that he took her and put her on the bed. That she used both hands as she attempted to protect herself. “I screamed NO NO NO NO NO NOOOO over and over I begged you to stop. I was never so scared in my life,” K. writes in the letter.
After it was over, Ronaldo allegedly turned to her again and supposedly said 99 percent of the time he was a good guy, but that he doesn’t know what happened to that 1 percent. That’s what K. writes in her letter.
Along with Susan K.’s letter to Ronaldo, part of the dossier Der Spiegel received included a “Settlement Memorialization” document that laid out the terms of the settlement. Neither Susan K. or Ronaldo are mentioned by name. Instead, the document refers to two anonymous parties: “Ms. P.” and “Mr. D.” That document was signed by Susan K., several lawyers, and Carlos Osório de Castro, Ronaldo’s longtime attorney.
The Settlement Memorialization Der Spiegel received reportedly includes 11 clauses which outline the terms both parties agreed to be held to by choosing to settle. In exchange for Mr. D. paying Ms. P. $375,000, Ms. P. agreed to permanently drop all allegations against Mr. D., never again speak to anyone about what happened in the bedroom, delete any and all written or electronic records of the incident at the heart of the settlement, and divulge to Mr. D. every individual to whom Ms. P. had told her story.
If Ms. P. was ever contacted by a third party about what happened, Ms. P. was to say she had “nothing to say,” per the report’s summary of the non-disclosure agreement clauses of the settlement. Ms. P. was not to discuss the incident in any kind of group therapy session, nor was she to ever reveal Mr. D.’s name should she discuss the incident with a therapist. If Ms. P. was ever found in violation of this agreement, she would have to return the full settlement amount to Mr. D.
The day after the alleged rape, Susan K. called the police, who took a report, according to Der Spiegel.
The reason for the call is listed under the category “Type” in the CAD report. It’s 426, the code for reported sexual offenses.
The police who spoke to K. noted that the caller was crying and very upset and didn’t want to provide the name of the suspected perpetrator. The caller said the person in question was a “public figure,” an “athlete.” The officer noted that K. had not bathed.
According to Der Spiegel, the police report goes on to explain what happened next. The Las Vegas police sent a car over to Susan K.’s house, where they picked her up and took her to University Medical Center. There, doctors administered a rape kit.
As Der Spiegel has it, that was the end of Susan K.’s narrative with police. Sometime later, K. hired a lawyer to represent her. Der Spiegel’s documents reveal that in July Susan K.’s lawyer contacted an attorney who had at one point represented Ronaldo in England. The lawyer in England then forwarded that information Ronaldo’s Portugal-based lawyer, Osório de Castro.
From there, the report says Ronaldo’s team started building its case. Ronaldo buffed up his legal representation, which included hiring a Californian firm with a history of working with celebrities. At one point, Ronaldo’s attorneys drafted a list of 274 questions about the night of the alleged rape. The questions were to be posed to Ronaldo, and he was to answer them verbally, not in writing, according to Der Spiegel. Here’s a sample of some of the questions:
Question 60: “What were the circumstances of your first meeting Ms. C?”
Question 80: “Had Ms. C used drugs earlier that evening?”
Question 141: “What was the first physical contact between you and Ms. C after you had walked away from the area of hot tub?”
Question 152: “Was there any penetration sexually?”
Question 158: “Was there any roughness to the sexual conduct?”
Question 163: “Did Ms. C ever raise her voice, scream, or yell?”
Question 165: “Did Ms. C say any words like ‘stop’ or ‘no’ or ‘don’t’ or anything of that sort?”
Next there is a note from Ronaldo’s lawyers in bold letters. “Ms. C’s attorney told us that her client had said that after you had sex, you apologized to her profusely.”
Question 190: “Did you apologize to her or say you were sorry or anything of that sort after you had sexual intercourse”?
Question 270: “When Ms. C. left the hotel room, what was her demeanor, attitude, physical appearance, apparent mood and mental state?”
Der Spiegel reported that settlement talks began in the fall of 2009, but were slow going. It wasn’t until January 12, 2010, that the two parties got together with a mediator to try to finalize an agreement. Ronaldo did not attend the settlement talks. The parties agreed to the broad strokes of a settlement on that day, and after time spent hammering out the specific language both parties could agree on, the document was made official.
As for the aforementioned letter Susan K. wrote to Ronaldo, that too was part of the settlement agreement. According to Der Spiegel, Susan K.’s letter was to be read to Ronaldo by Osório de Castro, his lawyer. Here are some of the excerpts from the letter:
“You jumped on me from behind,” Susan K. writes, “with a white rosary on your neck!!” Two sentences containing questions and exclamation marks follow it:
“What would god think of that!!!”
“What would god think of you!!!”
“I wish I could have told the world who you really are.”
“I don’t care about your money that was the last thing I wanted!! I wanted justice! There really is ‘no justice’ in this case.” She mentions “medical records” listing the injuries she sustained from Ronaldo. Susan K.’s story is that of a traumatized woman. “My life will never be the same,” she writes.
Her letter to Ronaldo ends with a P.S. She writes that she is sorry about having agreed to the settlement, and adds in bold letters, “Today I would give anything to go back and change my decision!! It has been over a year since you raped me.”
The final two sentences sound like a helpless plea: “I hope you realize what you have done and learned from this terrible mistake!! Don’t take another woman’s life as you did mine!!”
Der Spiegel did not publicly release the documents on which their reporting was based. The only screenshot has what might be a case number redacted out. Deadspin contacted the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in an effort to find the police report mentioned in Der Spiegel’s report. Officer Larry Hadfield, a spokesman for the LVMPD, said the department could not locate a Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro listed as a suspect in a sexual assault investigation. The Der Spiegel report notes that, per the police report, Susan K. never gave the police the name of the alleged perpetrator.
Der Spiegel said it reached out to Susan K. and the woman who accompanied her to Ronaldo’s suite on the night of the alleged rape. When reached over the phone, Susan K. replied “No comment, no comment” in what the report describes as a trembling voice before hanging up. A reporter later approached Susan K. outside her Las Vegas home, and she ran away “almost in a panic.” The friend also declined to comment for the report.
Ronaldo’s lawyers denied the report’s accuracy to Der Spiegel when the paper reached out for comment. Sports agency Gestifute released the following statement after the report was published:
The German newspaper Der Spiegel today publishes an extensive report on an allegation of rape alleged to have been made to Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009, ie about 8 years ago.
It is a piece of journalistic fiction.
The alleged victim refuses to be identified and corroborates the story. And the whole plot is based on unsigned documents and where the parties are identified by codes, in emails between lawyers who do not concern Cristiano Ronaldo and whose authenticity he does not know, and in a supposed letter that would have been sent by the putative victim, but Which he never received.
The report by Der Spiegel is false and Cristiano Ronaldo will act against this media by all means at his fingertips. The imputation of a violation is disgusting and outrageous accusation that can not be made clear.
Update [April 19, 2017]: The quoted passages from Der Spiegel’s German-language report that were originally in this post have been swapped out with the same ones from the paper’s own English translation, which they released today.