Examining the Sexual Assault Allegations Against Oscar De La Hoya

A recently filed civil complaint alleges there is a dark side to Oscar De La Hoya. SI's legal expert breaks down the case.
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Oscar De La Hoya has played many roles in his distinguished career. Nicknamed “The Golden Boy”, the 46-year-old Los Angeles native won a gold medal in boxing for the United States during the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona. He went on to earn 10 world titles in six different weight classes. While De La Hoya retired from boxing in 2009, he remains active in the sport as well as in mixed martial arts. His company, Golden Boy Promotions, represents a number of top fighters and negotiates business deals with venues to host and televise fights. Along the way, De La Hoya has amassed a net worth that is reportedly north of $200 million.

While De La Hoya's professional résumé is impressive, A recently filed civil complaint in Los Angeles County Superior Court contends there is a dark side to De La Hoya that must be exposed.

A nurse from San Bernardino County, California, insists that De La Hoya is liable to her for sexual assault, battery, gender violence, negligence and infliction of extreme emotional distress. For reasons explained below, the nurse describes De La Hoya as “malicious” and sadistic.

The nurse’s name is withheld from the complaint. She is instead identified as “Jane Doe.” Sports Illustrated has obtained a copy of the complaint, which is authored by attorneys Greg Kirakosian and Raffi Batanian of the Los Angeles law firm Kirakosian Law.

Doe Setting Boundaries for Consensual Sex With De La Hoya

According to the complaint, Doe was introduced to De La Hoya in late 2016. The two quickly became friends and would confide in another about personal matters. Soon thereafter De La Hoya asked Doe out on a date. They then began a romantic relationship.

As Doe’s attorneys retell what occurred, De La Hoya made certain disclosures to Doe early on in their relationship. One area of disclosure caught Doe by surprise. De La Hoya revealed that he found pleasure in sexual fetishes. Doe accepted this situation but made clear to De La Hoya that she would not partake in any activities that she found inappropriate.

Despite signaling to Doe that he understood her feelings, De La Hoya insisted on several occasions that she go beyond the types of sexual acts that she regarded as acceptable. Doe recalls rejecting every one of those requests. She felt that De La Hoya respected her wishes, despite his willingness to continually ask her to reconsider. Doe regards this time in her relationship with De La Hoya as one that involved consensual sexual relations.

These relations occurred while De La Hoya was married to another woman. Since 2001, De La Hoya has been married to actress Millie Corretjer. The couple have two children together, a 13-year-old son and an 11-year-old daughter. There is no public record of Corretjer and De La Hoya divorcing, though in December 2016, De La Hoya suggested in remarks published by TMZ that he was single.

The Alleged Assault

According to Doe, the consensual nature of her relationship with De La Hoya would end on November 12, 2017.

Upon invitation from De La Hoya, Doe—who was 29 years at the time—visited him at his new home in Pasadena, California. The home was a luxury 4,150 square foot condo that De La Hoya had purchased for $2.7 million. This was the first time that Doe had seen De La Hoya’s Pasadena residence. While De La Hoya gave Doe a tour, she recorded video of the rooms, purportedly with De La Hoya’s consent. As she toured, she noticed a bag in the kitchen. She says it appeared to contain cocaine.

Doe and De La Hoya then began to consume alcoholic drinks and engage in what she describes as “normal conversation.” As the minutes passed, De La Hoya became highly intoxicated and insisted that Doe take shots with him. She recalls refusing to drink at the same pace. The two then went to his bedroom where she believed they would have consensual sex.

This expectation changed when it appeared to Doe that De La Hoya “was unable or unwilling to perform.”

Instead of engaging in sex with Doe, De La Hoya returned to the familiar topic of his fetishes. He spent time discussing them and asked her to partake in sexual activities that she had previously rejected. As before, she rejected his wishes this time around, which appeared to bother De La Hoya.

De La Hoya’s frustration heightened when Doe refused to accompany him to a shower to engage in a sexual act. De La Hoya instead went into the shower alone. After leaving the shower, De La Hoya again asked Doe to partake in his fetishes. She once again refused, which she says enraged a very inebriated De La Hoya.

Doe contends that De La Hoya then sexually assaulted her. Specifically, he is accused of holding her down with one arm while attempting to insert his fist into Doe’s vagina. He did so while Doe repeatedly yelled at him to stop. De La Hoya rejected her pleas and instead “forcefully pushed his hand and fist” into Doe’s vagina. She then screamed in pain and “squirmed her pelvis away from De La Hoya.”

Doe recalls De La Hoya laughing as she exhibited intense pain and anger. Instead of expressing concern, he told her to consume a shot of alcohol and pleasure him in ways that she had consistently rejected. In distress, Doe grabbed her belongings and exited the Pasadena residence.

The Aftermath

Doe sought and received medical treatment for her injuries, which included “extreme swelling and pain” in the area around her vagina. She also received treatment from a psychologist and a certified sex therapist. Doe was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Doe insists that she continues to suffer from “extreme distress, humiliation, indignation and outrage.” She also describes having to endure “constant and daily” bouts of depression, anxiety and related symptoms associated with PTSD. These injuries, Doe maintains have negatively impacted her life.

The complaint does not address whether Doe contacted law enforcement or filed a police report. The absence of that discussion, which would be highly relevant in a complaint’s factual summary, suggests she did not contact the police. There is no known investigation by law enforcement into the incident.

It’s possible that Doe’s lawsuit could spark a criminal investigation, as the incident occurred within applicable statute of limitations for a criminal charge. However, that would likely not take place unless Doe offers evidence to support her case. It remains to be seen if that happens; her complaint references that she “recorded” rooms in De La Hoya’s home, which suggests she may be in possession of evidence. That said, the legal standard for charging someone with a crime (probable cause) and successfully prosecuting that person (beyond a reasonable doubt) is far higher than the standard for prevailing in a civil lawsuit (preponderance of the evidence).

Doe’s Legal Claims

Doe demands a jury trial. She seeks both compensatory damages (money that would compensate her for injuries, pain and suffering, lost wages, lost earnings and loss of economic opportunities) and punitive damages (money that would reflect a punishment imposed on De La Hoya and that would serve to deter other persons from engaging in similar misconduct).

There are five causes of actions in Doe’s complaint. They include sexual assault, sexual battery and gender violence. That trio concerns the alleged physical assault against Doe and the actions that precipitated it—De La Hoya allegedly pinning Doe down, overpowering her and then, despite her cries, shoving his fist into her vagina. Doe insists that this violence occurred without her consent and as a result of an incensed De La Hoya retaliating against Doe for her refusal to go along with his demands.

Doe also accuses De La Hoya of negligence on the theory that he had a duty to use reasonable care in his interactions with Doe and others who visited his home. Instead, she insists, he exposed her to a foreseeable risk of injury and caused her mental harm and anguish. Her fifth cause of action, intentional infliction of emotional distress, centers on De La Hoya allegedly engaging in “extreme and outrageous” acts that exceeded “all bounds of decency tolerated in a civilized society.” Doe maintains she continues to suffer severe emotional distress, including PTSD, as a result of the incident.

De La Hoya’s Team “Vehemently Deny” the Accusation

While Doe’s allegations against De La Hoya are highly disturbing, it’s important to note they are unproven. Information contained in a civil complaint is not necessarily true or confirmable. Such information tells a historical narrative from an (obviously) biased viewpoint of attorneys who represent a client.

De La Hoya’s attorneys will have an opportunity to answer the complaint. The answer will almost surely deny the allegations and possibly raise assertions of fact that contradict those contained in Doe’s complaint.

The answer, for instance, might contend that De La Hoya was never in a sexual relationship with Doe. Alternatively, it might downplay the number of times they interacted. De La Hoya’s answer might further argue that Doe’s portrayals of his so-called fetishes are false and are designed to humiliate him with his fans and represented fighters. Likewise, it might claim those portrayals attempt to damage his name and brand with the companies that pay him in endorsement deals and that do business with Golden Boy Promotions. The answer might also mention that Doe’s complaint does not mention her contacting the police. Also, if Doe had in-person or electronic communications with De La Hoya after the incident, those communications, to the extent they support De La Hoya’s innocence, might also be highlighted in the answer.

De La Hoya himself will likely play a role in the answer. Doe’s complaint is a verified complaint, which means it contains a sworn statement from her (and that sworn statement shows her name, but the name has been redacted in the public court filing). She attests, under oath and under penalty of perjury, that she believes the complaint authored by her attorneys contains truthful information. In an ordinary complaint, the plaintiff does not swear under oath that the allegations are true. To illustrate through another sports controversy, a recent complaint filed against free agent wide receiver Antonio Brown for alleged sexual assault was not verified. In other words, Brown’s accuser did not swear under oath that her claims against Brown were true.

Because Doe’s complaint is verified, De La Hoya’s answer will have to be verified. This means it should contain a sworn statement by De La Hoya. That raises the stakes for him to be truthful.

Thus far, the only response from De La Hoya about the complaint is a statement issued by Golden Boy Promotions. The statement describes Doe’s claim of sexual assault as “completely false.” It also maintains that De La Hoya and his team “vehemently deny the allegations” contained in what they dismiss as a “frivolous lawsuit.” The statement goes on to insist that De La Hoya is a “prime target” of litigation because of his wealth. It further accuses Doe’s attorneys of “trying to make a name” for themselves and mention that that the attorneys recently filed another lawsuit against De La Hoya (an unrelated case, David Gonzalez v. Golden Boy Promotions and Oscar De La Hoya, which concerns alleged unpaid wages and related employment issues).

The likelihood of Doe’s lawsuit leading to a trial is slim. The vast majority of civil litigation ends before a trial takes place. Especially as a public figure whose personal brand is central to his business dealings, De La Hoya likely prefers to avoid sharing details of his personal life. During pretrial discovery, he would be compelled to answer questions under oath and provide various documentation. It’s also possible that Doe’s alleged recordings would become public. Even if De La Hoya is innocent of the specific claims, if he has engaged in other conduct that might be revealed and that might be reputationally damaging, he’ll want the litigation to end sooner rather than later. Chances are this lawsuit will end in a financial settlement between De La Hoya and Doe.

Michael McCann is SI’s Legal Analyst. He is also an attorney and the Director of the Sports and Entertainment Law Institute at the University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law.