Nikki Yovino contacted police saying that, while she was attending a football club party near the university, she was pulled into a bathroom and sexually assaulted by two players. The accusations led the school to suspend the football players from the team and allegedly cost them scholarships. Within three months, it was revealed that Yovino lied.
The original incident happened on October 15, 2016. Yovino spoke with police and claimed that she was sexually assaulted by two football players while attending a party.
“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,” Yovino told law enforcement she said to the players.
The players, Dhameer Bradley and Malik St. Hilaire, admitted to having sex with Yovino but said it was consensual.
A witness supported the player’s claims, asserting that Yovino wanted to have sex with the men, and police detectives noted “inconsistencies in [Yovino’s] original statement.”
Yovino, about three months later, admitted to lying about the assault, saying she did it to avoid upsetting a male friend who could have been a “potential boyfriend.”
“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,” said Yovino’s 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.”
Yovino was sentenced to prison for second-degree false reporting of an incident along with tampering with or fabricating physical evidence. However, a last-minute plea deal saw her up to six-year sentence reduced to one.
According to a report by the Daily Wire, the two players decided to sue both Yovino and the school, Sacred Heart University, and “are seeking an undisclosed amount of money.”
Both players claim that their scholarships were revoked after the accusations surfaced. The school disputes that claim, but a detective stated in Yovino’s arrest affidavit that one of the men “lost a year of NCAA sports eligibility and his Division 1 NCAA football scholarship.”
Additionally, Bradley and St. Hilaire said that were removed from the football team and suffered other consequences after being targeted by the accusations.