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Claims of sexual assault against Fevola

09/10/2009 05:34:03 PM Comments (0)

The AFL says it is willing to take action against disgraced former Carlton player Brendan Fevola who has been accused of sexually assaulting a female journalist at the Brownlow Medal count.

A Herald-Sun reporter has claimed Fevola assaulted her but does not want to take the matter further.

The incident became public on Friday, the day Fevola was traded to Brisbane from Carlton which had dumped him following his drunken behaviour at the Brownlow on September 21.

But the league has been aware of the alleged incident and it is understood Brisbane also knew about the allegations before signing the controversial forward.

The woman has not made a complaint to police, although it is believed she has signed a statutory declaration detailing her allegations.

AFL operations manager Adrian Anderson said the woman had not made an official complaint to the AFL.

"We have provided support and also indicated that we are ready, willing and able to act as soon as she would like to talk to us," Anderson told reporters.

"The claims being made are ones we take extremely seriously.

"We have got a respect and responsibility policy for women that has been in place for five years now and any contraventions of that policy are viewed very seriously by the AFL.

"We have spoken to the employer of the woman concerned, we have provided support and access to counselling and we have also made it clear that the AFL is ready and willing to act on any breach of what we expect for our players to behave towards women."

Fevola, 29, rang the newspaper a few days after the alleged incident at Crown Casino and asked to speak to the woman.

It is understood she met him despite being advised not to and he asked to apologise.

The woman is believed to have been working on and off since the incident but has been emotionally affected by it and has received counselling.

Her employer says they are focusing on her welfare.

Editor-in-chief Phil Gardner says the Herald-Sun's only concern is the reporter's "wellbeing and health".

"Our reporter was attending the Brownlow as a representative of the Herald-Sun in a working capacity," he said in a statement on Friday.

"All employees are entitled to feel secure in their workplace.

"In accordance with our strong workplace policies and practices, the Herald-Sun has provided a wide range of support and services to our reporter."

Mr Gardner said Herald-Sun management had kept the AFL and other relevant parties regularly updated since the alleged incident.

Carlton president Stephen Kernahan said the club was not looking into what were at this stage only allegations.

He told reporters on Friday that Carlton had distanced itself from the matter now that Fevola has been traded to Brisbane.

Police and liquor licensing chiefs are continuing to investigate Crown's role in continuing to serve Fevola alcohol on the night when he appeared drunk.

Carlton lost patience with him after a string of drunken incidents, but the serious nature of his alleged actions on Brownlow night were not made public until Friday.

Fevola made his debut for Carlton in 1999 and played 187 games for the club, kicking 575 goals.

He won the Coleman Medal this year for being the AFL's leading goalkicker.

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