An ex-college student in Connecticut who many believe lied about being raped by two university football players took the stand Wednesday and said that she never told investigators she was sexually assaulted.
According to the Connecticut Post, 19-year-old Nikki Yovino, who formerly attended Sacred Heart University, appeared to shock a prosecutor with her change of story during a hearing on the defense’s motion to keep her alleged admission that she lied about the rape allegation out of her trial.
“You never told law enforcement you were sexually assaulted?” Assistant State’s Attorney Emily Trudeau asked Yovino.
“No, I never said I was sexually assaulted,” Yovino replied.
“Well then, why were they investigating a sexual assault?” Trudeau continued.
“I don’t know,” Yovino replied with a shrug.
Yovino repeated her new story at least four times during her testimony, saying she never told Bridgeport Police Detective Walberto Cotto or other investigators that two football players raped her in a basement bathroom during a party off campus in October 2016.
“I never told [Cotto] I was sexually assaulted,” Yovino testified. “I told him that something happened in the bathroom at the party with these two guys, that I didn’t want to happen.”
Since the incident, Yovino has left Sacred Heart and now works in real estate, according to the Connecticut Post. This testimony greatly differs from what records show she told police after the alleged incident, claiming that two men grabbed her into the bathroom, pinned her down, and took turns sexually assaulting her.
“I don’t want to be in here, I don’t want to do anything,” police said Yovino claimed she told the men. “My friends are waiting for me outside, let me go outside.”
Both men claim the encounter was consensual.
Yovino’s attorney, Ryan O’Neill, also told Superior Court Judge William Holden during a March hearing that the teen was the victim of a sexual assault committed without her consent.
“She had a reasonable belief that she was speaking the truth about what she said occurred,” O’Neill said.
In January, Yovino turned down a plea deal after she was offered a one-year prison sentence. Police said Yovino confessed three months after the alleged assault that she made the allegations up in an effort to get sympathy from another man she wanted to be her boyfriend.
“She stated that she believed when (the other male student) heard the allegation it would make him angry and sympathetic to her,” according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
Yovino, who is charged with falsely reporting an incident and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, faces up to six years in prison if convicted.