A white woman who admitted to falsely accusing two black men of rape in order to generate sympathy from a prospective boyfriend was spotted rolling her eyes while a victim of her deceit spoke in court about the impact the lie had on his life.
Nikki Yovino pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree falsely reporting an incident and one count of interfering with police on June 5, according to The CT Post, a Connecticut-based newspaper. She was sentenced to three years in prison, though the term will be suspended after one year. She'll be placed on probation after her release.
During her sentencing on Aug. 23, Yovino appeared visibly disinterested in the proceedings, according to reports. Yovino was spotted smirking as she listened to testimony from the man she falsely accused, according to The Hour, a Norwalk, Connecticut-based news organization.
“I went from being a college student to sitting at home being expelled, with no way to clear my name,” victim Malik St. Hilaire, who had remained largely silent during most of the court proceedings, told the judge, according to The Hour. “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.”
A statement from the second man accused, who remains unnamed in reports, was read aloud by St. Hilaire's lawyer Frank Riccio II.
“The last almost two years have been definitely my most difficult of my life,” the statement read, according to The Hour. “The roller-coaster of emotions: fear, anger, sadness, embarrassment, depression, anxiety and the list goes on. She accused me of what I believe to be a horrendous, horrific crime out of her own selfish concerns. I lost my scholarship, my dream of continuing to play football and now I am in debt $30,000 and I’m simply trying to get ahead as best as I can.”
A judge admonished Yovino for her apathy.
“I just hope you spend the time reflecting on what you did,” said Superior Court Judge William Holden, according to The Hour.
Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Tatiana Messina explained the reasoning behind the sentencing.
“This was not an easy charging decision for the state,” Messina said, according to The Hour. “But with the evidence we had against Miss Yovino, we do believe this disposition is both fair and appropriate. Many true victims of sexual assault are often disbelieved, but that is because of cases like this and the impact they have on public perceptions. Miss Yovino’s actions are a disservice to those true victims, in addition to the two young men whose lives were greatly affected, and that was not something that could have been ignored.”
Yovino's mother attended the sentencing but was sent out of court after her cell phone rang.
Police began investigating Yovino's accusation in October 2016. She claimed to have been raped by two black men at a Sacred Heart football club party the night before in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The two men admitted to having sex with Yovino but told police the encounter had been consensual.
During questioning with Det. Walberto Cotto Jr. months later, Yovino confessed to having fabricated parts of the story.
“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,” reads the arrest warrant affidavit, according to The Hour. “She stated that she believed when (the other male student) heard the allegation it would make him angry and sympathetic to her.”
While the football players were not arrested following the accusations, they withdrew from Sacred Heart University while facing possible discipline, according to News Channel 9, a Connecticut-based NBC affiliate.
[Photo: Bridgeport Police Department]