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Long IslandCrime

Police: South Setauket woman lied about rape

A Long Island woman will appear next week in a Connecticut court on charges she falsely claimed being raped in order to maintain a friendship with a prospective boyfriend after having “consensual sex” with the two men she accused, according to court records and police.

Nikki Yovino, 18, of South Setauket, was arraigned earlier this week in Bridgeport, charged with tampering with physical evidence and second-degree false reporting of an incident. She was released on $150,000 bond and ordered to appear on March 3.

The tampering charge, a felony, is punishable by up to 5 years in prison. The other charge is a misdemeanor.

The attorney of record for Yovino, Mark Sherman of Stamford, Connecticut, was not immediately available for comment.

An account of the incident, detailed by Bridgeport police Capt. Brian Fitzgerald, was obtained Thursday by Newsday.

Police said in the news release that Bridgeport officers responded to St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport to investigate the alleged rape on Oct. 15, 2016. At that time, Fitzgerald said, Yovino, a student at Sacred Heart University in nearby Fairfield, reported she had been sexually assaulted by two males at an off-campus house party. Police said one of the alleged assailants was a football player at Sacred Heart. The other was described as “a former SHU student.”

Initial statements from witnesses and from evidence recovered at the scene “suggested that a sexual assault had occurred,” Fitzgerald said. He said, however, that as the investigation continued, police determined that “new witness accounts, text messages and cell phone video” all led detectives to conclude the incident was not as it had been portrayed. Fitzgerald said that when confronted with the new evidence, Yovino “admitted that she, in fact, did have consensual sex with both males.”

According to an affidavit obtained by The Associated Press, Yovino told investigators she manufactured the allegations in an effort to maintain a friendship with a prospective boyfriend.

“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,” The Associated Press quoted the affidavit as saying, adding: “She stated that she believed when (the other male student) heard the allegation, it would make him angry and sympathetic to her.”

In a statement to Newsday on Thursday, Sacred Heart University spokeswoman Deborah J. Noack said, “The federal Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act prevents us from providing information about specific students. However, I can say that some of the early information that was released is inaccurate. Sacred Heart never expelled the two students nor was any student stripped of scholarships because of any allegations.

“Whenever there is any kind of incident at Sacred Heart University, we go to great lengths to ensure due process for all parties involved. The way that this particular case is playing out certainly demonstrates the validity of our procedures.”

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