By Natalie Cioffari
Last October, Sacred Heart University freshman Nikki Yovino reported that she was allegedly sexually assaulted by two football players at an off campus party.
Yovino recently recanted those statements and was later accused of lying about the rape.
“Something so serious shouldn’t be taken so lightly. When someone says they’ve been raped, we should automatically believe them, we shouldn’t have to then question, ‘hmm could she be lying about this?’” said senior Emily Creighton.
Police reported she made up the story in hopes of gaining the attention and the
sympathy of a potential boyfriend.
“I feel like it’s a bit of a ‘cry wolf’ situation. The whole fiasco completely de-legitimizes the seriousness of sexual assault on college campuses,” said graduate student Haley Tanella.
As reported by the CT Post, she was charged with “second-degree false reporting of an incident and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence.” She appeared in court on March 3 and pleaded not guilty.
“Rape is an extremely serious issue and it is not something for either men or women to falsely state. It is not only wrong to make false statements but also is insulting to the actual victim. Her slander has negatively affected the lives of those involved. She should be held accountable for her actions,” said sophomore Tera Del Vecchio.
Yovino’s lawyer, Mark Sherman, told News 12 Connecticut that there is more to the story that will come out later in court. Yovino could potentially face up to five years in prison.
“Personally I think she should get a prison sentence equivalent to the one those two kids would have gotten, especially since she followed through with the accusation for months,” said senior Luke Schiele.
Although it was reported that the two men were dismissed from the university and lost their football scholarships, Deb Novack, Director of Communications said in a statement: “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.”
CT Post reports that the names of the two Sacred Heart students are being withheld by Hearst Connecticut Media.
Since the accusation, ABC7NY reported that Yovino has dropped out of the university and returned to her home in Long Island, New York.
“It is extremely sad to see an event as such transpire on this campus as we are all taught from our very first times here if integrity, respect, and understanding. Any situation dealing with these actions are horrible and should be brought to justice. However, I am confident that our SHU community will be respectful of all parties involved as well as lend a helping hand to those affected,” said junior Cory Robinson.