A sentencing hearing is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. ET for a former Connecticut college student who admitted she lied about being raped by two African-American football players in an off-campus bathroom in the fall of 2016.
Nikki Yovino, 19, pleaded guilty to two counts of falsely reporting an incident in the second degree and one count of interfering with officers. Jury selection in Yovino’s trial was just about to begin when she entered the surprise plea earlier this summer.
Yovino had originally been charged with tampering with evidence–a felony–and second-degree falsely reporting an incident, a misdemeanor. The plea agreement allowed Yovino to avoid the more serious felony charge while still serving time behind bars.
Yovino was scheduled to spend three months in jail before her sentencing. She is expected to be sentenced to an additional one year, though that sentence could be reduced further by the state department of corrections. If Yovino violates the terms of her probation, she will have to serve three years behind bars.
Yovino initially said the two athletes sexually assaulted her in a bathroom and that she feared for her life. Yovino eventually admitted she lied about the encounter because she feared another student would lose romantic interest in her if he learned she had had consensual sex with the athletes. The athletes had all along said the sex was consensual.
During her unexpected plea hearing, Yovino told a judge she agreed with the state’s entire theory that she made up the rape accusations and that the original sexual acts were consensual.
Both of the athletes lost scholarships due to the false accusations, several sources close to the case told Law&Crime. One of the two left college altogether. Another is trying to pay his own way through college.
Attorney Frank Riccio, who is representing at least one of the athletes, told Law&Crime earlier this year that the athletes are weighing their own legal options. A civil suit may follow, he said.
[Image via the Bridgeport, CT Police Department.]