Save the Children 'disheartened' by rape allegation made against ambassador Cristiano Ronaldo

Exclusive: Ronaldo, who has represented the charity since 2016, is being sued by an American woman who claims he sexually assaulted her in a Las Vegas hotel in 2009

Samuel Lovett
Tuesday 02 October 2018 17:51 BST
Cristiano Ronaldo dismisses claims he raped woman in Las Vegas hotel as ‘fake news’

Save the Children has said it is “disheartened” by the recent allegation of rape made against its ambassador Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo is being sued by Kathryn Mayorga, 34, who claims he sexually assaulted her in a Las Vegas hotel in 2009 and then dispatched a team of “fixers” to obstruct the criminal investigation and trick her into keeping quiet for $375,000.

The lawsuit says Mayorga, from Nevada, asked police last month to reopen the criminal case, with Las Vegas police confirming on Monday they have reopened a sexual assault case from 2009 that corresponds with the date of Mayorga’s allegation.

Save the Children has expressed its concern at the recent allegations made against Ronaldo, becoming the first of the Juventus star's partners to comment on the ongoing case.

A spokesperson for the charity told The Independent: “We are disheartened by the news report we’ve seen in the last 24 hours and are working to get more information.”

Ronaldo has represented the charity since 2016. According to the organisation’s website, “Ronaldo lends his voice and visibility to spotlight issues facing child refugees and all vulnerable children around the globe.”

The Independent has contacted a number of Ronaldo’s commercial partners in light of the accusation of rape made against the Juventus and Portugal player.

Samsonite, which has entered into a sponsorship deal with the 33-year-old through its company American Tourister, did not provide official comment.

The Independent is awaiting response from Nike, Samsung, EA and other companies associated with the Portuguese.

Alongside the allegation of rape, the lawsuit filed by Mayorga accuses Ronaldo or 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.

It asks for general damages, special damages, punitive damages and special relief, each in excess of $50,000, along with interest, attorney fees and court costs.

Ronaldo’s lawyers did not immediately respond when contacted but after a report on the case in Der Spiegel last week, Christian Schertz threatened to sue the German magazine: “It violates the personal rights of our client Cristiano Ronaldo in an exceptionally serious way.”

Ronaldo appeared to deny the allegations in an Instagram video posted hours later.

“Fake. Fake news,” said the five-time Ballon d’Or winner. “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.”

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