A former college student in Connecticut accused of lying about being raped by two university football players testified Wednesday that she never told investigators she was sexually assaulted.
Nikki Yovino, 19, a former Sacred Heart University student, seemed to surprise a prosecutor with her change of narrative during a hearing on the defense’s motion to keep her alleged confession that she made up the rape allegation out of her trial in Bridgeport, the Connecticut Post reports.
“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.
In all, Yovino said at least four times during her testimony Wednesday that she never told Bridgeport Police Det. Walberto Cotto or other investigators that she had been raped in a basement bathroom by two football players during an off-campus party 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.”
Yovino, of South Setauket, New York, has since left Sacred Heart and now works in real estate, according to the Connecticut Post. Her testimony differs strikingly from what documents show she told police after the alleged incident, saying that the two men pulled her into the bathroom and held her down, taking 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 Ryan O’Neill during a hearing in March that the Long Island teen was the victim of a sexual assault committed against her will.
“She had a reasonable belief that she was speaking the truth about what she said occurred,” O’Neill said.
In January, Yovino rejected a plea deal after she was offered a one-year prison sentence. Police said Yovino admitted three months after the alleged assault that she made the allegations up in an attempt to get sympathy from another man she considered to be a prospective 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.
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