False college rape case set for trial
A former Sacred Heart University student, accused of making up rape allegations against two football players, is heading for trial on June 18.
“We are ready to go forward,” Stamford lawyer Ryan O’Neill, who represents the now 20-year-old Nikki Yovino, said Tuesday.
Ryan and state prosecutors Tatiana Messina and Emily Trudeau met for more than an hour with Superior Court Judge William Holden to set a trial schedule while Yovino paced the lobby of the Golden Hill Street courthouse.
Ryan said later that jury selection in the case is set to begin on June 4.
Yovino, who left Sacred Heart and now works in real estate on Long Island, is charged with second-degree falsely reporting an incident and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence. If convicted of the charges, one a felony and the other a misdemeanor, she could face up to six years in prison.
Police said Yovino claimed she was raped by the two young men in a bathroom during an off-campus party. However, pressed three months later about inconsistencies in her statement, Yovino admitted she had made the allegations up, police said.
However, at an earlier court appearance Ryan said he and his client will will contend at trial that Yovino was raped by the two young men.
On Oct. 15, 2016, police were dispatched to St. Vincent’s Medical Center for a sexual assault complaint. Police said Yovino told them she had attended a Sacred Heart football club party the night before at a house at Lakeside Drive in Bridgeport.
Police said the woman claimed the two men pulled her into a bathroom in the basement of the house.
“I don’t want to be in here, I don’t want to do anything. My friends are waiting for me outside, let me go outside,” police said Yovino she claimed she told the men.
They said she continued that they held her down and each took a turn sexually assaulting her.
Police said both men admitted having sex with Yovino in the bathroom, but said it was consensual.
Detective Walberto Cotto Jr. questioned Yovino again three months later at her Long Island home.
“She admitted that she made up the allegation of sexual assault against (the football players) because it was the first thing that came to mind and she didn’t want to lose (another male student) as a friend and potential boyfriend,” according to the arrest warrant affidavit. “She stated that she believed when (the other male student) heard the allegation it would make him angry and sympathetic to her.”
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