LAS VEGAS (BLOOMBERG) - A rape lawsuit against Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo in Nevada state court that made headlines last year has been quietly dropped, but his accuser is now pursuing her claims in federal court.
A notice of voluntary dismissal was filed last month in state court in Las Vegas. The filing didn’t say why the case was dropped.
The woman accusing of the Portuguese soccer player of sexual assault, Kathryn Mayorga, filed a separate lawsuit in federal court in January making the same allegations.
Mayorga switched to federal court because state law in Nevada restricted her ability to serve a summons to appear in court on Ronaldo, who lives in Europe, her lawyers said in a February filing.
Ronaldo has publicly denied the allegations and never filed a response to the state court case, which sent his club’s club’s shares down 15 per cent when it was filed in September.
In the federal suit, Mayorga has asked the judge to allow for “alternative service” of a summons for Ronaldo because she doesn’t know his address in Italy. The judge denied the request but allowed an extra 180 days to serve him.
The New York Times reported in March that Juventus, the Italian league champions, wouldn’t participate in the International Champions Cup in the US this summer to avoid the risk that Ronaldo would be detained by authorities as part of a rape investigation.
In the state court complaint, Mayorga alleged she was sexually assaulted by Ronaldo in 2009 in his penthouse suite at a Las Vegas hotel. Mayorga said in the complaint that while she agreed to a settlement with Ronaldo after the alleged assault, she was experiencing severe emotional trauma at the time and wasn’t competent to participate in the mediation.
Peter Christiansen, a lawyer for Ronaldo, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on the dismissal of the state court case.
A representative for Mayorga’s lawyer, Leslie Stovall, didn’t respond to a request for comment on why a new case was filed in federal court.
A five-time winner of soccer’s most prestigious award, the Ballon d’Or, Ronaldo is also the sport’s most popular player on social media. His marketing potential supercharged Juventus, with the stock price doubling in the months after the Turin-based team signed him from Spain’s Real Madrid on July 10.
Juventus is controlled by Italy’s Agnelli family, the biggest investors in carmaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
Following the lawsuit last year, Las Vegas police reopened an investigation of the rape allegations. The New York Times reported in January that law enforcement officials had requested a sample of the soccer player’s DNA from Italian authorities.
A spokeswoman for the police department said its investigation is still ongoing.