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Former student faces six years in prison for falsely reporting rape, tampering with evidence

Another ‘Jackie’ incident?

A year ago we told you about a Sacred Heart University student who was charged with falsely reporting an incident and “tampering with or fabricating physical evidence” in an alleged rape she reported to police.

Nikki Yovino, now 20, now faces up to six years in prison if convicted of both felony and misdemeanor charges.

Connecticut Post reports she will be tried starting June 18 by two female prosecutors, who met with the judge and Yovino’s attorney Tuesday to set a trial schedule. Jury selection starts June 4.

Police said that three months after reporting she was raped by two football players in a bathroom at a party, she admitted to the same motivation that drove Jackie Coakley to falsely report being gang-raped at a University of Virginia fraternity:

“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,” according to the 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.”

MOREUT hides evidence that helps students accused of rape

Under the “trauma informed” investigations adopted by many colleges and some police departments, Yovino’s alleged false claims would not have been revealed.

It was “inconsistencies in her original statement” that led a detective to interview Yovino again, where she dropped her claim that the sex was nonconsensual. The football players said the sex was consensual, and a witness overheard Yovino telling the players she wanted to have sex with them.

That didn’t stop Sacred Heart from punishing the players before any form of adjudication had taken place.

Though the administration previously told The College Fix the players were neither expelled nor stripped of their scholarships “because of any allegations,” the Post said a year ago they withdrew after they were “dismissed” from the team and their scholarships “revoked,” on the eve of a disciplinary hearing.

Sacred Heart is also in dispute with the detective who filed the arrest affidavit, who claims one of the two players lost a year of eligibility and his scholarship, and a source who told the Post the other player also lost his scholarship.

MORE: Police says Yovino invented rape to draw sympathy from ‘potential boyfriend’

It’s not the first time the Catholic university has pointed the finger at the wrong person.

Just a month before Yovino was charged, the university publicly apologized to a local man for wrongly putting his name and photo on leaflets it distributed after a reported off-campus rape. The other settlement terms in the man’s $1 million defamation lawsuit weren’t made public.

Yovino’s lawyers – she’s had at least two – have consistently said that she stands by her original claims that the football players pushed her into a downstairs bathroom at a party and took turns raping her as they held her down.

Read the article.

MORE: Sacred Heart apologizes for putting wrong man’s name, photo on leaflet

IMAGE: Bridgeport Police Department

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg spent several years as a technology policy reporter and editor for Warren Communications News in Washington, D.C., and guest host on C-SPAN’s “The Communicators.” He co-founded the alternative newspaper PUNCH and served as a reporter, editor and columnist for The Falcon at Seattle Pacific University.

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