A college student who spent more than a year insisting she was raped by two university football players has now admitted that she has been lying the entire time.
Nikki Yovino, 19, filed rape charges against the two football players after a party in October 2016, and claimed the assaults happened inside a bathroom at an off-campus house party.
Yovino, from Long Island, accused two Sacred Heart University footballers of assaulting her during a party, and has been defending her rape accusations since February 2017, when she was first charged by Bridgeport Police.
She has now pleaded guilty to charges of falsely reporting an incident and interfering with police, The New York Post reports.
Both men admit sleeping with Yovino, however they maintain the sex was completely consensual.
According to police, Yovino later admitted making up the allegations because she was worried another student she was romantically involved with would find out and lose interest.
Speaking to the Connecticut Post, as reported by the NY Post, the lawyer for the two men, Frank Riccio II, said that they are now thinking of suing Yovino for the trouble she has put them through.
While this disposition does not replace that which the boys lost, it does send a powerful message that lying about a serious incident carries serious consequences.
He also said Yovino’s actions had ‘seriously affected’ the football players.
They’re no longer in school. The loss of their education and the college experience has certainly affected them greatly. And this is all because of a very serious lie.
Yovino has reportedly accepted a plea deal, and will now serve a reduced sentence of one year in prison, after originally facing six.
The student agreed to the plea deal just before a jury selection was to begin in the false rape trial.
Tatiana Messina, senior assistant state’s attorney, told the judge:
We were prepared to go to trial on the original felony charge, but after lengthy discussions with all parties involved and considering all outside factors, this was an appropriate disposition that will hopefully set a precedent about how serious the state takes this conduct.
According to the arrest warrant affidavit, Yovino admitted making 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’.
They also said Yovino believed that when the other male student heard the allegation it would make him angry towards the football players and sympathetic towards her.
Yovino was originally charged with a felony count of evidence tampering and falsely reporting an incident, a misdemeanor, and faced up to five years in prison.
The charges have since been downgraded to two counts of second-degree falsely reporting an incident and one count of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence in connection to an incident.
Yovino has since left Sacred Heart University.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.