WWE Chairman Vince McMahon has reportedly settled with former referee Rita Chatterton.
A new report from The Wall Street Journal notes that Vince has agreed to a multi-million dollar legal settlement with Chatterton, who accused him of raping her in the back of a limousine in 1986.
The settlement was completed last month, and averts a public legal fight over the allegations as McMahon pursues a potential sale of WWE.
We noted back in December how Chatterton demanded $11.75 million in damages in a November letter to McMahon’s attorney. Chatterton ended up agreeing to a lesser amount, in the millions of dollars, but the exact figure has not been confirmed.
The settlement provides Chatterton with a lump sum up front and annual installments, similar to McMahon’s previous agreements with women, according to a person close to the deal.
“Mr. McMahon denies and always has denied raping Ms. Chatterton. And he settled the case solely to avoid the cost of litigation,” said longtime McMahon/WWE attorney Jerry McDevitt.
Chatterton referred The Wall Street Journal to her lawyer, John Clune, and he declined to comment. WWE did not respond to requests for comment.
The settlement with Chatterton comes after a $7.5 million settlement McMahon reached in 2018 with a former wrestler who alleged that he coerced her into giving him oral sex, as well as a 2022 agreement in which he agreed to pay $3 million to a former WWE paralegal employee that he allegedly had an affair with. Vince has declined to publicly address the settlements.
Chatterton alleged in 1992 TV interviews that McMahon told her she needed to satisfy him if she wanted to receive a $500,000 contract with WWE, and then raped her in the back of a limousine in New York. Chatterton’s attorney said in the November demand letter that she had passed a polygraph test, and that multiple sources had corroborated her account, two of whom told The Wall Street Journal that Chatterton contemporaneously told them about the alleged rape.
In the November legal demand letter, Chatterton’s attorney wrote that the damage she suffered from the alleged rape was “hard to overstate” and that she “has suffered years of ongoing depression, substance abuse, disordered eating, lost income, and overall a decreased quality of life.”
McMahon contended in a 1993 lawsuit that Chatterton was induced to make a false rape charge against him by a wrestler with an ax to grind. He withdrew the lawsuit in 1994, and said he withdrew to focus on defending against the infamous criminal steroid-related charges, which he was acquitted of in 1994.
A New York state law recently opened a one-year window that allows victims of sex crimes to file lawsuits that would otherwise be barred by the statute of limitations. Chatterton’s attorney sought $11.75 million damages in a legal demand letter sent to McMahon’s attorney in November, just weeks before the window opened.
It was reported back in December that McMahon was in talks with Chatterton’s attorneys, and attorneys for a former spa manager, who alleged Vince assaulted her at a California resort in 2011. There is no update on the status of the negotiations with the former spa manager, and her attorney did not respond to a request for comment.
For those who missed it, you can click here for what WWE CEO Nick Khan just had to say about Vince’s allegations.
Stay tuned to WrestlingHeadlines.com for more. Below are links to some of our recent reports on the ongoing situation:
FULL COVERAGE OF THE VINCE MCMAHON – JOHN LAURINAITIS ALLEGATIONS AND FALLOUT: