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Neymar accuser in first comments: ‘I was the victim of rape’

By MAURICIO SAVARESEJune 6, 2019
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Brazil's Neymar stands during the national anthem prior a friendly soccer match against Qatar at the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia, Brazil, Wednesday, June 5, 2019.(AP Photo/Andre Penner)
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Brazil's Neymar stands during the national anthem prior a friendly soccer match against Qatar at the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia, Brazil, Wednesday, June 5, 2019.(AP Photo/Andre Penner)

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — A woman who has accused Brazilian soccer star Neymar of raping her in a Paris hotel went on television in an interview aired Wednesday to reaffirm her allegation against him in her first public comments on the case.

Talking to Brazilian station SBT, the woman described herself as an “ordinary person who works, studies; I’m a model and a student of interior design who likes sports, training and dancing,” as well as being “a daughter and mother.”

“I was the victim of rape,” she said.

When the interviewer asked if what happened on May 15 was rape or an “aggression” — an apparent reference to what her original lawyers say was the woman’s original complaint — she responded that it was “aggression together with rape.”

Neymar, who has said he had two encounters with the accuser in France, denies any wrongdoing. He is also being investigated by Rio de Janeiro’s cybercrime division for posting on social media images of the woman without her authorization.

A spokeswoman for Neymar, Day Crespo, has said that “because of the secrecy (of the investigation) we cannot comment.”

But on Wednesday, the player’s lawyers disputed a statement from the woman’s initial legal team saying his representatives had asked for a meeting to discuss a settlement with the accuser. The player’s attorneys issued a statement saying it was the woman’s lawyers who sought the May 29 meeting, at which no agreement was reached.

The first complaint presented by the woman’s legal team cited “aggression,” or “physical violence,” by Neymar. She filed a more serious rape complaint against Neymar on Friday with police in Sao Paulo. The woman later changed lawyers.

The Associated Press generally does not name people who say they are victims of sex crimes.

The TV station broadcast her comments as the soccer star played with Brazil’s national team in a friendly match with Qatar in Brasilia while it prepares for the Copa America tournament.

Neymar left the match with an apparent injury. Brazil’s soccer confederation later said its doctor examined him and found that he had twisted his ankle.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who attended the game in Brasilia, told journalists earlier in the day that he believes in Neymar. “He is a kid. He is in a difficult moment, but I believe in him,” the president said.

Bolsonaro, a far-right former army captain, was elected in October after a campaign in which he promised to attack corruption and crime but also drew criticism for frequent anti-LGBT, misogynistic and racist remarks.

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