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Their accuser went to prison for inventing gang rape. Now they’re suing the university for prejudging them.

University’s claims contradicted by arrest affidavit

Nikki Yovino was sentenced to a year in prison for filing a false police report, but it may be her former university that pays financially for her crime.

The two football players the student falsely accused of gang rape are suing Yovino and Sacred Heart University for slander, infliction of emotional distress and “wrongly suspending them,” the Associated Press reports.

The Oct. 10 suit was filed in Connecticut but not previously reported. Dhameer Bradley and Malik St. Hilaire want an “undisclosed amount of money,” according to the AP. St. Hilaire made a victim-impact statement at Yovino’s sentencing in August, while Bradley’s lawyer read his statement. (Bradley had not been publicly identified at the time.)

MOREYovino faces up to six years in prison

The football players are walking free today because police investigated discrepancies in Yovino’s story, leading her to admit she made up the rape to draw sympathy from a potential boyfriend. Under trauma-informed investigative techniques recommended by anti-rape activists, these discrepancies would have been cited as evidence of her rape.

Ashe Schow at The Daily Wire notes that Bradley and St. Hilaire are unlikely to get much money from the young Yovino, but the Catholic university in Connecticut has deeper pockets.

One of the disputes in the case is likely to be what action Sacred Heart actually took against the players. The university claims it neither expelled nor stripped the players of their scholarships “because of any allegations,” but it has refused to be more specific.

That contradicts the arrest affidavit by a detective, Walberto Cotto, who said a university official told him “both players had been academically suspended by SHU because of the sexual assault allegation,” the Connecticut Post reported at the time:

Cotto also wrote in the affidavit that one of the players “lost a year of NCAA sports eligibility and his Division 1 NCAA football scholarship.” A source with knowledge of investigation told Hearst Connecticut Media that the other player also lost his scholarship. …

Both students agreed to withdraw from the university after they were stripped of their scholarships and as they were about to go before a disciplinary hearing.

Read the AP and Daily Wire stories.

MORE: Yovino’s victims speak out at her sentencing

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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