England rugby players named in New Zealand sex scandal report

July 11th, 2008 - 2:40 pm ICT by ANI  

London, July 11 (ANI): A far more stringent code of conduct will be imposed on England rugby union players after a judge announced that he had fined two squad members who were at the centre of rape allegations on last months tour to New Zealand.

Judge Jeff Blackett, the Rugby Football Unions disciplinary officer, made public the names of four players involved in the incident at an Auckland hotel in which two admitted that they had sexual relations with an 18-year-old woman, who went on to claim to police that she had been raped.

However, Blackett ruled that, in the absence of any testimony from the complainant, he accepted that Mike Brown and Topsy Ojo had consensual relations with the woman at different times in the same hotel room.

Two other players, David Strettle and Danny Care, were exonerated over the incident, which tarnished the tour and the image of English rugby, The Times reported.

The 18-year-old had claimed she had been sexually violated in a hotel by four England players. Topsy Ojo, Mike Brown and Danny Care denied any wrongdoing.

The report, by the RFUs disciplinary officer Jeff Blackett, also reports for the first time that the alleged victim made an allegation of sexual misconduct both to police and doctors at a hospital where she sought treatment.

The report said that the alleged victim stands by the allegation, but has decided not to make a formal complaint because she does not want to go through the criminal process.

Because no formal complaint has been made, the four players - who vehemently deny the allegations - were not arrested and were allowed to fly home at the end of the tour.

Blackett stressed in his report that there was no evidence of criminal wrongdoing by any of the players.

But he fined and reprimanded Ojo and Brown for misconduct arising out of their late-night drinking, whilst clearing Care of any wrongdoing.

He said David Strettle, who was wrongly named by the Sun newspaper as one of the four accused men, was also in the clear.

Brown and Ojo both claimed to have had a consensual relationship with the teenager, the report said.

Although Blackett said the players had only committed minor disciplinary breaches, his report contains highly damaging details of exactly what went on, and will be seen as a new low point for English rugby. (ANI)

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