Two former Sacred Heart University students, who were falsely accused of rape, have sued the school for wrongfully suspending them.
University football players Dhameer Bradley and Malik St. Hilaire alleged the school of violating its own policies on treating students involved in disciplinary procedures. The suit also alleges Nikki Yovino of making a false claim of rape thus causing emotional distress.
“The action taken by Sacred Heart was a violation of the contract they have with students,” plaintiff’s attorney Augustin Sevillano told Connecticut Post. “Women who are sexually assaulted should never be doubted but unfortunately the school rules leave a large loophole that allows for false accusations to be made.”
On October 15, 2016, Yovino reported rape to police after attending a football party off campus. Last year, she admitted to filing false charges against the two players to impress her prospective boyfriend. She was sentenced to three years in prison on one count of interfering with police and two counts of second-degree falsely reporting an incident.
“This was not an easy charging decision for the state,” Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Tatiana Messina was quoted telling the judge.
“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.”
Meanwhile, the university has not issued any statement over the latest filings.