A Long Island woman convicted of falsely accusing two college football players of rape rolled her eyes as she was sentenced to one year in jail.
Nikki Yovino told police she was at a party being thrown by Sacred Heart University’s football team in Connecticut when she was was sexually assaulted by two players who pulled her into a bathroom in the basement on Oct. 14, 2016.
Both men admitted to having sex with Yovino, but said it was consensual.
Months later, Yovino admitted to lying about being raped because she didn’t want to jeopardize a budding relationship with another man.
“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 obtained by The Hour. “She stated that she believed when [the other male student] heard the allegation it would make him angry and sympathetic to her.”
Yovino pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree falsely reporting an incident and one count of interfering with police, all misdemeanors. She was sentenced on Thursday to three years, suspended after she serves one year in prison, followed by probation, The Hour reported.
She has already served three months in prison and will likely spend three more months behind bars before she is eligible for release.
Malik St. Hilaire, one of the men falsely accused of raping Yovino, spoke at her sentencing hearing.
“I went from being a college student to sitting at home being expelled, with no way to clear my name,” St. Hilaire told the judge. “I just hope she knows what she has done to me. My life will never be the same. I did nothing wrong, but everything has been altered because of this.”
Hilaire’s attorney, Frank Riccio II, read aloud a statement from the second man accused of raping Yovino. He has not been identified.
“The last almost two years have been definitely my most difficult of my life,” the statement read. “The roller coaster of emotions: fear, anger, sadness, embarrassment, depression, anxiety and the list goes on.”
The man wrote that as a result of Yovino’s actions, he lost his scholarship, lost the opportunity to play football and now is in debt $30,000.
Yovino appeared to roll her eyes as her victims discussed the consequences of her actions and was reported to have been smirking at one point. But her attorney Ryan O’Neill told Law & Crime that she was not.
“This was a difficult day for Nikki and her family,” O’Neill told reporters. “Her willingness to accept [the] plea deal reflects her accountability for what happened.”