AFL star player Lovett charged with rape - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

AFL star player Lovett charged with rape

15/02/2010 07:20:15 PM Comments (0)

St Kilda star recruit Andrew Lovett has been charged with raping a woman after a night out with teammates.

Lovett, 27, will appear in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday, charged with one count of rape.

Detectives from the South Melbourne Criminal Investigation Unit have charged the 27-year-old Lovett on summons, meaning he was not arrested or placed in custody.

The charge relates to an incident on Christmas Eve when a woman accused Lovett of sexual assault against her, which allegedly began while she slept.

Detectives had been investigating since Lovett was accused of raping the woman at a Port Melbourne apartment.

He was questioned by police last month and released without charge.

The Saints, who traded away their first-round draft pick in October to recruit Lovett from Essendon, are yet to decide their response.

"The club is currently considering its position in light of these recent developments and the charges brought against its recent recruit, Andrew Lovett," St Kilda said in a statement.

"At this current time the club is not in a position to make any further comment."

St Kilda had already suspended Lovett indefinitely in December from both playing with them and participating in team training sessions.

Lovett has taken issue with that ban, and last Friday lodged papers with the AFL seeking a hearing before the league's grievance tribunal.

The AFL has given the Saints a deadline of this Friday to respond, before the tribunal can be convened.

It is understood Lovett, who has steadfastly maintained his innocence and is expected to vigorously contest the charge, will continue with the grievance process despite the rape charge.

He was suspended by the Bombers on several occasions during his time with that club, for poor off-field discipline.

Soon after joining the Saints, he was arrested for public drunkenness, although that charge was later dropped.

The club banned him on Christmas Eve, within hours of becoming aware of the woman's allegations.

Lovett will not be asked to make a plea at Friday's hearing, which will involve setting a committal mention date, which is the next step in the process and is expected to be held in May.

It is not the first time Saints players have been investigated over rape allegations.

Leigh Montagna and Stephen Milne were the subjects of a 2004 investigation, but in that case no charges were laid as Victoria Police concluded that there was insufficient evidence to launch a prosecution.

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