WWE’s Vince McMahon settles with ex-wrestling referee who accused him of rape


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Vince McMahon, the manager chairman of World Wrestling Leisure Inc., has agreed to a multimillion-dollar authorized settlement with a former wrestling referee who accused him of raping her in 1986, in response to individuals acquainted with the settlement.

Mr. McMahon’s settlement with Rita Chatterton, accomplished final month, averts a public authorized struggle over her allegations as Mr. McMahon pursues a attainable sale of the corporate.

Ms. Chatterton, the primary feminine referee of what was then often called the World Wrestling Federation, demanded $11.75 million in damages for the alleged rape in a November letter to Mr. McMahon’s lawyer reviewed by The Wall Road Journal.


Vince McMahon in 2009

World Wrestling Leisure Inc. Chairman Vince McMahon seems within the ring throughout the WWE Monday Night time Uncooked present on the Thomas & Mack Heart August 24, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Ethan Miller/Getty Photographs / Getty Photographs)

Ms. Chatterton agreed to a lesser quantity within the tens of millions of {dollars}, one of many individuals acquainted with the matter mentioned, however the Journal couldn’t decide the precise determine. 

“Mr. McMahon denies and all the time has denied raping Ms. Chatterton. And he settled the case solely to keep away from the price of litigation,” mentioned Jerry McDevitt, a lawyer for Mr. McMahon.

Ms. Chatterton referred the Journal to her lawyer, John Clune, who declined to remark. WWE didn’t reply to requests for remark.

The deal follows a $7.5 million settlement Mr. McMahon reached in 2018 with a former wrestler who alleged that he coerced her into giving him oral intercourse, in addition to a 2022 settlement during which he agreed to pay $3 million to a former WWE worker with whom he allegedly had an affair, the Journal beforehand reported citing individuals acquainted with these agreements. Mr. McMahon has declined to publicly deal with the settlements.

WWE has declined to debate the allegations in opposition to Mr. McMahon. The corporate beforehand mentioned it was cooperating with a board inquiry into the funds and taking the claims critically.

Mr. McMahon contended in a 1993 lawsuit that Ms. Chatterton was induced to make a false rape cost in opposition to him by a wrestler with an ax to grind. Mr. McMahon withdrew the lawsuit the next 12 months, he mentioned, to give attention to defending in opposition to prison steroid-related prices. He was acquitted of these prices in 1994.

A New York legislation just lately opened a one-year window that permits victims of intercourse crimes to file lawsuits that will in any other case be barred by the statute of limitations. Ms. Chatterton’s lawyer sought $11.75 million damages in a authorized demand letter despatched to Mr. McMahon’s lawyer in November, weeks earlier than the window opened.


Vince McMahon announces WrestleMania in 2012

WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon attends a press convention to announce a significant worldwide occasion, WrestleMania XXIX, at MetLife Stadium on February 16, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (John W. Ferguson/WireImage / Getty Photographs)

The settlement offers Ms. Chatterton with a lump sum up entrance and annual installments, much like Mr. McMahon’s earlier agreements with girls, the particular person acquainted with the deal mentioned.

Mr. McMahon stepped down as chairman and chief government of WWE in July, after the Journal reported 4 secret settlement funds he made to girls who accused him of sexual misconduct.

Mr. McMahon, the corporate’s controlling shareholder, returned as WWE’s government chairman this month and altered the corporate’s bylaws to provide him better authority over its operations and pursue a attainable sale. 

WWE’s board had resisted his return, saying in a December letter that persevering with investigations by the Securities and Alternate Fee and the Justice Division into the key funds by Mr. McMahon recommended in opposition to it. 

Within the letter, the board mentioned Mr. McMahon’s return “wouldn’t be prudent from a shareholder worth perspective.”

“This willpower relies on a wide range of elements, together with personal info the Board has turn into conscious of and the dangers to the Firm and its shareholders of inserting a better highlight on these points,” the letter mentioned.

Mr. McMahon changed three unbiased board members to make room for himself and two former WWE executives. Two different unbiased administrators have since resigned, alongside together with his daughter, Stephanie McMahon, who had been co-chief government with Nick Khan. Mr. Khan is now the corporate’s chief government officer. 

The Journal reported in December that Mr. McMahon was in talks with attorneys for Ms. Chatterton and a former spa supervisor who alleged Mr. McMahon assaulted her at a California resort in 2011, in response to an electronic mail her lawyer despatched to Mr. McMahon’s lawyer. The Journal couldn’t decide the standing of the negotiations with the ex-spa supervisor.

Ms. Chatterton alleged in televised interviews in 1992 that Mr. McMahon had advised her she wanted to fulfill him to acquire a $500,000 contract together with his firm and raped her behind a limousine in New York. 

Mr. Clune, Ms. Chatterton’s lawyer, mentioned within the November demand letter that Ms. Chatterton had handed a polygraph and that a number of sources corroborated her account, two of whom confirmed to the Journal that Ms. Chatterton contemporaneously advised them concerning the alleged rape.

An lawyer for the previous spa supervisor didn’t reply to a request for remark.

Vince McMahon in 2012

Vince McMahon attends a press convention to announce that WWE Wrestlemania 29 might be held at MetLife Stadium in 2013 at MetLife Stadium on February 16, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Michael N. Todaro/Getty Photographs / Getty Photographs)

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Within the Nov. 3 authorized demand, Mr. Clune wrote that the harm Ms. Chatterton had suffered from the alleged rape was “laborious to overstate.” Ms. Chatterton “has suffered years of ongoing melancholy, substance abuse, disordered consuming, misplaced revenue, and total a decreased high quality of life,” Mr. Clune wrote.

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