Footy ‘pay­out’ si­lence

AFL won’t dis­cuss Dock­ers sex-pest com­plaint


THE AFL is re­fus­ing to an­swer ques­tions about whether it is in­ves­ti­gat­ing an al­leged pay­ment to a sex­ual ha­rass­ment vic­tim to buy her si­lence.

The Fre­man­tle Dock­ers are em­broiled in claims that the sex­ual ha­rass­ment com­plaint made against a club of­fi­cial late last year was cov­ered up.

The AFL told the Her­ald Sun last Fri­day that its in­tegrity unit in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the com­plaint had con­cluded with­out any sanc­tions.

But the AFL did not re­spond yes­ter­day to ques­tions over claims the com­plainant, a for­mer Dock­ers of­fice worker, re­ceived a pay­ment.

The ques­tions put to the AFL in­cluded whether it was in­ves­ti­gat­ing a pay­ment by Fre­man­tle, any club of­fi­cial or any as­so­ci­ated party.

The AFL was also asked if pay­ments to sex­ual ha­rass­ment vic­tims were con­doned un­der its Re­spect and Re­spon­si­bil­ity pol­icy, re­launched in Novem­ber. Fre­man­tle was forced un­der the pol­icy to alert the AFL’s in­tegrity unit once it re­ceived the com­plaint.

The pol­icy had been changed amid con­cerns that past com­plaints may have been brushed un­der the car­pet.

The league con­firmed there had been a com­plaint in De­cem­ber, but only said the mat­ter was closed af­ter the Her­ald Sun last week pub­lished a story about the al­leged pay­ment.

The Dock­ers have only re­leased one pub­lic state­ment about the case, say­ing at the week­end it was a “work­place mat­ter that has been re­solved by the club”.

Fre­man­tle coach Ross Lyon said fol­low­ing the Dock­ers’ loss to Greater West­ern Syd­ney on Satur­day: “I’m aware that the club and the AFL have re­leased a state­ment.

“The whole club will ref­er­ence that state­ment and no one’s in a po­si­tion to com­ment any fur­ther.”

The league also re­fuses to say whether it in­ter­viewed the for­mer Dock­ers staff mem­ber who made the com­plaint.

A source close to the case said last week: “The amounts, and any­thing to do with that, I can’t com­ment on. So much is geared to­wards pro­tect­ing a lot of peo­ple.” A sec­ond source said: “They’ve said that if any­one talks it will be stopped — the pay­ment.”

Kate Jenk­ins, Sex Dis­crim­i­na­tion Com­mis­sioner and Carl­ton board mem­ber, said: “I was in­volved in last year’s re­view of the AFL’s Re­spect and Re­spon­si­bil­ity pol­icy, how­ever I am not in­volved in the han­dling of in­di­vid­ual com­plaints lodged with the AFL.

“I en­cour­age the AFL and clubs to con­tinue the ed­u­ca­tion process about the Re­spect and Re­spon­si­bil­ity pol­icy.”

Tanya Hosch, the league’s in­clu­sion and so­cial pol­icy man­ager, did not re­turn calls. The AFL did not re­spond to any of the Her­ald Sun’s ques­tions be­fore dead­line.

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