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.