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Former SHU student accused of lying about rape appears in court

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BRIDGEPORT -

The former Sacred Heart University student accused of lying about two university football players raping her at an off-campus party in October faced a judge this morning.

News 12 Connecticut spoke with the lawyer of Nikki Yovino, who says they made a motion to suspend prosecution and apply for a supervised diversionary program instead.

According to police, Yovino was charged after lying about two football players sexually assaulting her. The arrest warrant stated Yovino admitted “she made up the allegation of sexual assault because she didn't want to lose another student as a friend and potential boyfriend.”

Authorities say both players admitted to having sex with Yovino, but said it was consensual, something other students at the party backed up.

Last month, Yovino was expected to decide on a plea deal offer that calls for a two-year prison sentence.

She has not yet taken that deal, opting to apply for the program instead, which if granted, could lead to an ultimate dismissal of the case.

“The supervised diversionary program is in no way a guilty plea,” says attorney Mark Sherman. “It is a program that suspends prosecution in the case so that it freezes everything. It allows the defendant to participate in a mental health counseling and leads to an ultimate dismissal of the case.”

Yovino is expected to appear in court on Sept. 8. Then, her attorney says a judge will choose whether to grant the program or not. If it's rejected, they say they'll decide whether to reject or accept the plea deal.

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