A South Setauket, New York, woman is accused of making false claims that two football players raped her in order to gain sympathy from a love interest.
Nikki Yovino, 20, claimed two Sacred Heart University students sexually assaulted her at a party last fall, according to ABC 7.
Bridgeport Police Captain Brian Fitzgerald told ABC 7 that witness statements and Yovino’s account almost led authorities to charge the suspects. However, Yovino reportedly recanted her statements after text messages between Yovino and the two football players and video captured by one of the men were discovered.
“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,” an affidavit obtained by the Connecticut Post reads. “She stated that she believed when (the other male student) heard the allegation it would make him angry and sympathetic to her.”
Authorities said the 20-year-old alleged the men pulled her into a bathroom in the basement and took turns raping her.
According to the New York Post, the players were suspended from the team and lost their scholarships following the accusations. They agreed to withdraw from Sacred Heart University prior to going before a disciplinary board.
Yovino also reportedly left the University and returned home.
Yovino’s lawyer, Mark Sherman, of Stamford, told the Connecticut Post that said he hadn’t seen the arrest warrant affidavit but challenged the allegations that Yovino fabricated the assault.
“My client denies the allegations and stands by her original story,” Sherman said.
Police Detective Walberto Cotto Jr. told the Post that one student said they heard Yovino tell the men she wanted to have sex with them on the night in question. Other students claimed they saw Yovino go into the bathroom with them willingly.
Yovino was charged with second-degree falsely reporting an incident and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence on Wednesday. She faces five years if convicted.
The 20-year-old was released after posting $5,000 bond. Sherman said he expects his client to plead not guilty at her arraignment on March 3.
Photo: Bridgeport Police Department