Woman accused of making false rape allegations to be tried


Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn.

A young woman accused of making up rape allegations against two college football players to gain the sympathy of another student she wanted to date is going on trial this week, and claims that she was pressured into confessing are expected to play a key role.

Jury selection in the case of Nikki Yovino, 19, of South Setauket, N.Y., is to begin Tuesday in Bridgeport Superior Court in Connecticut, and testimony is expected to start June 18. Prosecutors and defense lawyers will be in court today to argue over whether some evidence and testimony should be excluded from the trial.

Yovino was a student at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield when police say she reported being raped by two Sacred Heart football players at an off-campus party in Bridgeport in October 2016.

Authorities say she later admitted that she had consensual sex with the players and told them her motive. She was charged with evidence tampering, a felony, and falsely reporting an incident, a misdemeanor. The evidence- tampering charge carries as many as five years in prison.

Yovino’s lawyers, however, say police pressured her into making a false confession. Prosecutors declined to comment, citing policy involving pending cases.

Ryan O’Neill, the woman’s attorney, said she told police the football players had sex with her against her will but never used the terms rape or sexual assault. O’Neill said a police detective, during a second interview, pressured her into confessing that she had made up rape allegations.

Yovino answered only yes or no during the recorded interview as Detective Walberto Cotto asked her if she had lied, and she never actually said what police reported, O’Neill said.

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