Last year, German magazine Der Spiegel unearthed documents that revealed an out-of-court settlement from 2010 between international soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo and an anonymous American woman who had accused Ronaldo of raping her in a Las Vegas hotel room. Today, that woman has cast aside that anonymity in another Der Spiegel article in which she, Kathryn Mayorga, recounts her story in detail and reveals that she has filed a new civil suit against Ronaldo in court. A lawyer for Ronaldo has denied the report and stated his intent to sue Der Spiegel.
The bulk of Der Spiegel’s latest story—in which they interview Mayorga, her family, her friend who accompanied Mayorga up to Ronaldo’s Palms Place Hotel penthouse that night, and her lawyer—involves Mayorga explaining in her own words what happened on the night she says Ronaldo raped her, and how that incident has affected her life since. Mayorga’s attorney also mentions some potentially damning documents in his possession, which purport to show Ronaldo himself admitting that Mayorga did indeed vocally and repeatedly deny her consent during the sexual act.
The biggest news to come from the new report is Mayorga’s lawyer’s possession of a questionnaire answered by Ronaldo where he appears to admit that Mayorga objected to their sex that night. As Der Spiegel’s previous reporting stated, Ronaldo’s team of lawyers compiled a series of internal questionnaires they administered to Ronaldo to get a grasp of Ronaldo’s version of events. In one such questionnaire, from December of 2009, Ronaldo claims that the sex between he and Mayorga was consensual. However, a previous document from September reads very differently Here’s an excerpt from the telling document (note that these documents were written in code where “Ms. C” refers to Mayorga and “X” to Ronaldo):
The sender was a lawyer from the firm of Carlos Osório de Castro, a lawyer who has long represented the soccer star[CH1] . The recipients were Osório de Castro himself and an additional colleague.
In response to the question of whether Ms. C had ever raised her voice, screamed or called out, X answered according to the document: “She said no and stop several times.” And furthermore: “I fucked her from the side. She made herself available. She was lying on her side, in bed, and I entered her from behind. It was rude. We didn’t change position. 5/7 minutes.
She said that she didn’t want to, but she made herself available.” And further: “But she kept saying ‘no.’ ‘Don’t do it.’ ‘I’m not like the others.’ I apologized afterwards.” The document quotes him as saying that she never screamed and never called out for anyone.
“[NN2] Question: Did Ms. C. say anything afterwards about the sex being too brutal? X: She didn’t complain about it being brutal. She complained that I forced her. She didn’t say anything about wanting to go to the police.”
Mayorga’s story as revealed today hems very closely with the story told in the documents Der Spiegel acquired last year. For a full breakdown of her story of the rape, her interactions with police, and the subsequent settlement, you can read Der Spiegel’s earlier report. Though we’ve covered that part of the story before, Mayorga’s new first-person account of the night she met Ronaldo is worth recounting again here.
On June 12, 2009, Mayorga—now a 34-year-old teacher but then a 25-year-old aspiring model—met Ronaldo in the VIP area of Rain, a nightclub at the Palms Casino. Prior to going to Rain that night, Mayorga had been working at a downtown bar along with other young women, getting paid to stand outside the venue and try to entice passers-by to go inside the establishment.
After work, Mayorga’s friend Jordan proposed the two meet up at Rain. While in the VIP area, Mayorga says “[Ronaldo] just came up to me ... grabbed my arm, and he was like: ‘You! Come with me!’” Mayorga notes that she found that behavior “strange.” She says Ronaldo laughed off her hesitance to join Ronaldo and his friends elsewhere in the club, but eventually he convinced her to let him buy her a drink.
The two chatted for a little while, and before long Ronaldo asked Mayorga for her phone number. She gave him her number, and the two then parted ways. Later that night, Ronaldo texted Mayorga asking her if she and her friends wanted to continue partying up in his penthouse in the Palms Place next door. Mayorga and Jordan agreed to go. The two women met Ronaldo and some of his friends in the hotel lobby and followed them up to Ronaldo’s room.
Upon arriving to the room, the group moved to the hot tub. At first, she tells Der Spiegel, Mayorga didn’t want to get into the water—she had a photo shoot the next day and told the others she didn’t want to ruin her dress by getting it wet—but when Ronaldo offered her a swimsuit, she agreed to get in.
Mayorga then went into the bathroom to change into the bathing suit. While she was in there, Ronaldo came into the adjoining bedroom. She says he had his penis pulled out. She continues:
“Basically he ... he begged me to touch his penis for 30 seconds,” she says. “When I wouldn’t touch it, he begged me to suck it. Like, what an idiot! (...) I was laughing at him because I thought, ‘Is this a joke?’ This guy that is so famous and so hot ... he’s a frickin’ loser and a creep.”
But Ronaldo allegedly wouldn’t be put off. “He was like, ‘I’ll let you go if you give me a kiss.’ I said, ‘OK, I’ll kiss you but I’m not going to touch your nasty penis.’” Mayorga insists that she only kissed him and didn’t touch him otherwise. And she says that the kiss only turned him on more.
“He starts to come on to me very strong. And he starts to do stuff to me and touch me and grab me and go down on me.” She says, she pushed him away and again told him no.
At that moment, one of his friends came in and asked: What are you doing? “I took the opportunity to quickly put my dress back on and said,” We’re coming out. “And he said yes, we’re coming.”
As Mayorga went to join the others by the hot tub, she says Ronaldo pulled her back into the bedroom. At that point, Mayorga says, “I was not really scared, I just did not think that’s how stubborn this guy is. I told him again that nothing would happen between us.” Ronaldo would not stop, though, and eventually anally raped her on the bed in spite of her protestations:
“I pushed him off again, he tried to take off my underwear, but he did not succeed, so I rolled myself up like a ball and tried to protect my vagina with both hands and then he was on top of me. “ She said “no, no, no, no”.
“When he was done, he still did not want to let me go, he looked guilty and suddenly started calling me ‘baby.’ ‘Baby, baby.’ I do not remember exactly the wording, but he also said ‘sorry’ and asked me if I was in pain, somehow getting on my knees and saying, ‘99 percent of me am a good guy, I do not know what to do this one percent is.’”
Here’s how she described the immediate aftermath:
“It all happened so fast, and I was so confused, it was like floating, like in a trance, I can not describe it, my next thought was: what if he had AIDS now, or some other disease? I asked him, and he said, ‘I’m a professional athlete, I’m tested every three months, and if I was ill, I would not be able to play.’”
“I said to him, Nobody will know about it, and when we finally got out of the room, he meant something like ‘stay cool’ or something, but I do not remember exactly.”
Afterwards, Ronaldo and Mayorga rejoined the others by the hot tub. Mayorga’s friend Jordan says she immediately noticed something was off. “Kathryn looked completely upset, her hair was disheveled, her make-up smeared,” Jordan told Der Spiegel. She recalls repeatedly asking Ronaldo, “What did you do to my girlfriend?” His response was “It’s okay, we’re friends.”
Everyone sat there for a little while in what Mayorga says was an odd quiet. Soon after, Ronaldo got up and left. At one point, sitting by the hot tub, Mayorga just sort of let herself fall in. She says she told herself, “You have to be cool, cool.” Jordan was still insistent on figuring out of Mayorga was okay, but Mayorga brushed aside her friends concerns, insisting she was fine. She even started joking around and laughing. Finally, everyone got out of the hot tub and the Mayorga and Jordan left the room and the hotel.
It wasn’t until Mayorga got into her car that what had just happened hit her. “There was this terrible pain, every heartbeat.” She says she drove herself to the hospital but was too afraid to go inside. She then drove herself home and tried unsuccessfully to get some sleep. She didn’t mention anything to anybody until the morning a few hours later. At that time, Jordan called Mayorga to inform her that the pair had been spotted hanging out with Ronaldo and were all over the tabloids. Mayorga didn’t react well to this news. When Jordan asked why, Mayorga told her that Ronaldo had raped her.
For more of the specific details of the night and the aftermath, we recommend that you read Der Spiegel’s entire story. It’s in German (hence the sometimes stilted language from the excerpted bits above, which we ran through Google Translate) and is paywalled, but you can sign up for a free one-month subscription to read everything.
The broad strokes of what happened next are important for how we got where we are today, though. The day after the alleged rape, Mayorga did contact the police and filed a report. She was afraid of Ronaldo’s fame and power, though, so she was hesitant to name him as her rapist. She would only refer to him as a professional athlete.
Mayorga was taken to a local hospital, where they compiled a rape kit. In the days that followed, Mayorga reports being deeply traumatized by the events and unable to do much else other than sit alone in her room. Police pressed her to name her assailant, but she would not. Eventually, a family friend recommended an attorney that they could consult. The attorney convinced Mayorga to sit down with police and give a full statement that would include naming Ronaldo as her rapist.
Mayorga says that the policeman who came to take her statement was an older man who was not very tactful. When she told the officer that she had kissed Ronaldo in the bathroom before the rape, she says the officer told her that would be a problem. He also told her that her hiring of an attorney would raise a red flag. “I told him that my parents wanted the lawyer,” Mayorga told Der Spiegel, “that I wanted to bury everything.”
After that less-than-ideal interaction with police, Mayorga’s attorney recommended initiating a private settlement agreement instead of pursuing a criminal case. Mayorga assented. After months of negotiation, Mayorga’s and Ronaldo’s lawyers agreed to the $375,000 settlement that kept this incident quiet for so long.
After Der Spiegel first published their report of the settlement last year, Mayorga sought the advice of a new lawyer. Mayorga always maintained her regret in signing the settlement instead of pursuing a criminal action, and she mentioned that fact in a letter she wrote Ronaldo as terms of the settlement. “Today I would give anything to go back and change my decision!!” is how she worded the sentiment in her letter to Ronaldo from 2010. As she puts it now in her interview with Der Spiegel, “I’ve never stopped indicting him and me inwardly, him for the act and me for signing [the settlement].”
Her new lawyer, Leslie Stovall, has filed a suit in Nevada court on Mayorga’s behalf that in part seeks to have the settlement agreement voided. Stovall reasons that because Mayorga was too mentally and emotionally traumatized at the time the settlement was agreed to, and because the settlement never took into account his client’s learning disabilities, and because he claims the terms of the settlement illegally seek to impede a criminal investigation, the agreement was never legally binding. In addition, Stovall claims that even if the settlement were upheld, Ronaldo violated its terms if, as documents and statements Stovall has acquired imply, the Juventus star’s lawyers never actually read him Mayorga’s letter as required in the settlement.
Mayorga’s motivation for coming forward with her story now are three-fold. For one, she has been convinced by her lawyer that she can challenge the settlement in court, and she seeks to bring a new suit that would finally give her some semblance of the justice she’s long sought. Secondly, she has felt empowered by the Me Too movement and other women’s bravery in naming and standing up to their assailants in sexual assaults. Thirdly, she wants her case to receive public attention to discover if Ronaldo has ever done this to anyone else. “That question never let me go,” Mayorga told Der Spiegel.
A lawyer representing Ronaldo told Reuters that Der Spiegel’s report was “blatantly illegal” and characterized it as “an inadmissible reporting of suspicions in the area of privacy.” The lawyer also claimed that he would sue Der Spiegel for publishing it. Ronaldo also threatened to sue Der Spiegel after the mag published their previous articles about the rape accusation and settlement. As Der Spiegel’s editor-in-chief noted to Reuters, they have never followed through on those threats.
We have requested a copy of Mayorga’s civil complaint from her attorney’s offices, but have yet to hear back from them. If we do receive any new information, we’ll update this post.