In an article called “My Side of the Story“, a somewhat contrite and reflective young woman tells WHO magazine,  “all I really wanted was an apology”.

She talks about how the father of her twins reacted when she told him she was pregnant,  how he started to hyperventilate and cry.

She was pregnant and clearly wanted to maintain her relationship with him.  Is that such an uncommon thing for a young girl or a woman?

She describes how she slept at the Melbourne home of the footballer who was the father of her twins,  a young man clearly not prepared

to be a father.  Her expectations of him may have seemed a little unrealistic by others’ standards, although nobody can deny that this is how she felt.

This type of  scenario is a familiar one and is probably  replayed every single day throughout Australia.  Teenage boys and girls have hormones and engage in  sexual relations.  Girls have hormones but perhaps their instincts to establish relationships are even stronger.

It is a fact of life that some men aren’t ready for the commitment of marriage or being a father. The teenager on the other hand felt in some ways that she had found the man she wanted.  Perhaps she was deluding herself, as many 19 year old boys aren’t always prepared for a long term commitment at that age.

What we have is a fairly typical scenario.

However what made it  unusual was that the footballer in question was trying to pressure this young girl to have sex with his fellow footballers, something that may even occur at a school to a popular guy.

The fans and the club are responsible for giving players their fame, a tool which they can use as leverage to engage in this kind of behaviour which harms lives.

Clubs have a moral responsibility to control how they use their position, as do girls have to learn to use judgement when making decisions to get involved in relationships at a young age.

In a football club it appears that it is very much a part of the   ‘team spirit’  to do want to do what your  ‘mates’ want.  In a team sport  group sex is the outward manifestation of  a form of  peer pressure, part of being one of the boys, a part of wanting to be seen in a favourable light. Or who knows? Perhaps it is just to demonstrate one’s sexual prowess than part of  the male bonding culture.

We learn more about the girls experience as she describes how one night after sleeping with the footballer he brought a number of team mates into the room where they slept.   She describes how she was drunk at the time yet  still refused the pressure applied to her to participate in group activities with  them.  She states that she was disinhibited at the time and had sex with the father of her child in the same room as other footballers were present.

I knew morally it wasn’t right,” she says, but says she was drunk at the time of the incident.

It is easy to see how quickly what might be seen as something slightly immoral by her standards could so quickly cross the line into something illegal and how dangerous such behaviour is.

It is inappropriate for players to be using football public events such as  ‘leadership talks’ or educational venues for  conducting recruiting of a sort.

The girl stands firm on the fact that she has no regrets about publishing the information and is fortified in her belief that she has done the ‘right’ thing, something she gauges by the number of girls who she has received emails from praising her actions.

Despite what the spin doctors from the AFL and St Kilda Football Club would have us believe, the St Kilda School Girl saga is not just about an unsuspecting and wronged St Kilda football Captains being ambushed by their team mates who betray them.

This is not not just about the ultimate form of betrayal, namely the betrayal of one team mate by another, and the ‘injury’ and hurt it caused to Nick Riewoldt.

This sordid affair isn’t just about football.

It is about how mateship, in this case in the context of football, is privileged over the second class treatment of women, who have long been second class class citizens in AFL land.

They always will be, as long as Andrew Demetriou is prepared to sanction and endorse this kind of behaviour, over and above his earlier protestations that this kind of behaviour towards women would cease on his watch.

Nor is is about the differential privacy rights of public versus private figures and the rights of celebrities to have their images protected from a voyeuristic public and media.

All this really is, reduced to it’s basics, is a case of blatant sexual exploitation of a minor, a vulnerable woman, committed by predatory, remorseless men whose behaviour seems beyond reproach and is condoned at the highest levels.

Whilst there is a tone of regret and reflection in this 17 year old girl’s attitude, she faces a legion of remorseless and powerful men, some attired in suits and ties standing behind their prized  boys in football jerseys who they so vehemently defend by wrapping them in cotton wool.

There has been a lot of handballing on the part of football golden boys,  senior executives and officials.

Apart from Phil Cleary and Derryn Hinch, there has been a conspicuous absence of journalists expressing condemnation of this harmful masculine culture condoned by the AFL, and even more insidiously the culture of cover-up which leaves a young girl at the centre of a media circus, lynched from all quarters.

From the start the press never allowed details interfere with a response that elevated the players’ reputations above all else, including the personal feelings and background of a young 17 year old disenfranchised girl.

How long did the press savage this young girl before acknowledging, albeit almost as an aside, a small detail, namely that she had been abused in the most egregious way by a Police Officer, a person who is supposed to be in a position of trust and authority?

Had the media joined the dots before Derryn Hinch did?

The public finally came to learn about the connection between the  the case involving Police Officer Luke Donoghue and the teenager at the centre of the St Kilda Football photo scandal.

Luke Donaghue is facing  14 criminal charges for sexually abusing a St Kilda school girl after plying her with alcohol to achieve his objective. He used his position of trust and authority to procure sex with a child.

The media seemed to gloss over this small detail.

Instead the  media machine was focusing heavily on the grievances of the injured and maligned St Kilda Football players . Their reputations seemed to be all important.

So important were their precious reputations that the injury and damage done to the girl was overlooked.

The focus was on the photos taken on what seemed to be a frivolous occasion, the induction of Zac Dawson into the St Kilda Football Club.

What everyone failed to  notice was that  this young girls’ induction to life hasn’t’ been all that nifty.

She very easily got lost in the feeding frenzy in the legal furore over a few photos, amongst them one of  another induction, which may just a been a side show for more serious accusations.

The facts which seem to have been forgotten are as follows:

1.  By the tender age of 17, this girl has known of the grief of losing two  children

2. She has been ridiculed, and treated appallingly whilst she was carrying twins in total disregard for either her welfare or the welfare of her unborn children, which she lost possibly due to the stress she was under.

3. After suffering this loss, a loss that no woman who has lost a child could possibly fail to identify with, she was then publicly demonised and threatened by the ‘biggest show in town
4. She was sexually abused, clearly without consent,  by a Police Officer

She has been ridiculed and sexually exploited by a culture which prizes male bonding and group sex with minors above all else.

It is beyond my wildest imagination that an institution as powerful as the AFL, a local football club, the media and a legion of fans, seemed at peace with the AFL sicking a team of legal stars on a 17 year old girl, let alone a girl who had been treated with such indignity and with such  a vengeance.  On top of that they then condemned her and treated her with contempt, as if she was the perpetrator, not the victim.

Did they forget that she is a ward of the State, has been disowned, prematurely labelled a thief by the AFL,  disinherited and marginalised, standing in front of all girls her age who are watching the events which  unfold. There is no element of deterrence.  What girl is going to come forward after seeing what has happened to this young girl, particularly one brave enough to expose the hypocrisy that occurs in AFL land?

The AFL,  players, executives, officials and the St Kilda Football Club obviously had little time to react and co-ordinate their responses.

After all the internet doesn’t wait for anybody. Its robust structure re-routes around censorship and treats it as a malfunction. (Lawrence LessigCode versus Law in Cyberspace)

All concerned found themselves swimming against the tide in unchartered waters.  These waters were familiar,  but once the internet was thrown into the mix, the whole ball game changed!

The mighty AFL found themselves at the mercy of a fragile young girl with little else but a mouse, some photos, transcripts and a computer at her disposal to tell her story after exhausting all other avenues.

She had finally come to a dead end.  With the click of a mouse she executed what seemed to her to be the only strategy available to her after exhausting all other avenues and enduring months and months of pain and grief.

The legal fraternity and Judiciary are still trying to come to terms with how to confront the legal challenges the internet has raised, straining to retrofit ancient legal doctrines to a world in which communications technologies are  evolving more quickly than any parliament could even legislate for.

The AFL legal team seem to be preoccupied by defamation of their own players they allege has been committed by the girl.

By stark contrast no attention has been given to the fact that this young  teenager has been subjected to a deluge of  defamatory commentary across the internet.  Once upon notice of infringing material, website owners are under an obligation to remove it, according to well established case law.  (Godfrey v Demon).

Some of this material has allegedly been posted on a St Kilda Football Club website although it isn’t clear whether the site has an affiliation with the official St Kilda Football Club website.

The Club’s response to the injuries sustained by the girl and which continue to accumulate has been far from proactive.  The St Kilda Football Club management have not even taken any action to stop players from continuing to send offensive communications to her, despite the vulnerable state she is in psychologically.

Despite a legal suppression order preventing her name being released, her identity is plastered all over the internet in the most hateful way imaginable.  The St Kilda football players are sending messages almost every day she says,  urging her to kill herself, and depending on the severity of the messages this could easily constitute anything from a civil wrong to a criminal act of incitement.

Like a lot of women who have either suffered silently or publicly at the hands of sexual abusers, she is having a difficult time showing her face in public.

For the benefit of the AFL legal team, I believe under Australian law one legal term which would aptly describe the conduct being engaged in is ‘victimisation’.

As stated above this is not about football.

This is about power,  sexual abuse of women and the culture of cover-up, which we have witnessed so many times.

On this occasion AFL players and executives with their strong arm tactics are the Ambassadors carrying out the ‘shame and blame’ routine, apparently with a form of immunity which can only be characterised as akin to a level of immunity accorded to diplomats.

We remember what happened when the  Catholic, Anglican and other churches protected Priests from the consequences of their abuse.

We are supposed to hold those institutions morally and legally responsible for their actions.

The Institutions can be brought to account but only where there is a willingness to do so.  Such behaviour should not be condoned or sanctioned in any way.

It isn’t in the best interests of the players to wrap them in cotton wool.

If anything, the AFL should be subjecting the players  to additional consquences and penalties, compensating the victims and co-operating fully with the police.

If the AFL had have been more proactive in mandating that Fevola attend treatment earlier rather than protecting him and belittling the damage he did to Lara Bingle, perhaps his future might be looking a bit brighter today.

Who would argue that it morally more objectionable to expose a male willingly posing for a photograph than an unwilling female Lara Bingle?

Obviously the AFL could be the only ones who feel this way. Oh..and apparently some fans.

Legally it might be the seen as the same to expose  men and women in this way in a society of equals, however we all understand that it is a lot more humiliating to expose a naked woman, particularly where she has a legitimate expectation of privacy.

This teenage girl was once a champion athlete, but obviously her biggest wrongdoing was to allow herself to be a star in a minor sport, as opposed to being a participant as a celebrity in a much bigger game.  She has been a star attraction but she isn’t a hundred thousand dollar footy player. She was  just a St Kilda School Girl who, once an athlete herself, and a young girl felt special around the man who jilted her when it was discovered she was the mother of his children.

Although it is unclear,  I have heard she was a runner.   She spent years training and doing her schoolwork.  She obviously had some sense of dedication, a commitment and a love of sports.  She then started doing some modelling and entered a ‘glamorous‘ world which turned out not to be so glamorous.   She admits that at one point in her life she took a wrong turn.

Just imagine if  Sam went to the US and a women’s basketball player abused him, and said he doesn’t matter as “he is just a groupie“.

As the AFL have  already demonstrated, had she been an AFL player, her misdemeanours would have been forgiven.

Her real crime was to be a star participant in a sport out of her league where only saints fear to tread.

Andrew Demetriou claims that there were up to 20 meetings with the girl. The girl claims that she has never personally met with Demetriou, although Demetriou claims to have offered support through the AFL and facilitated that support to her. The precise details of that support have not been released.

She apparently met with a former Police woman on a few occasions. Demetrious’ reaction to the girl didn’t quite fit together with Lewin’s attitude, even though he was reacting on behalf of the AFL  whilst Lewin is pursuing the girl  from a different angle.

What has emerged is that there has been a failure of co-operation by St Kilda Football Management with Police, well at least if co-operation means assisting the Police rather than obstructing them in conducting their investigations.

According to information from the ‘Human Headline’,  whilst Victorian Police were interviewing the St Kilda school, the interview was interrupted by phone calls from St Kilda’s football operations manager, Greg Hutchison telling the  girl what to say to the Police.

He implored her to tell the Police that no alcohol or drugs were involved in the big event with the footballers.

Any lawyers and member of the public would know it is unethical and arguably illegal to coach witnesses. Whilst there is no property in a witness, this girl was a complainant giving a statement to the Police.

It was clear the knows it is unethical to coach witnesses. There is no property in a witness or complainant as a witness in this instance.  It was clear in this case that Andersen wasn’t acting as the girls’ legal representative.

Why would the Police allow this?  Are they breaching ethical standards in allowing such contact to take place during a Police interview?

St. Kilda Football Club have publicly asserted that she stolethe photos” when  referring to the Riewoldt Miami photos.

It is a bit premature to start talking about stealing or theft which has a moral connotation of intent to steal, to deprive a person of ownership of property. Furthermore, even if the girl acquired the images from Gilbert’s computer and did not own them, St Kilda are conveniently conflating theft of a tangible item with an intangible one.

One doesn’t  steal intellectual property at least in a strict legal sense. Copyright is violated.

From a moral standpoint is it legitimate to accuse someone of stealing something when even at this point ownership of the photos is yet to be established and is in dispute?

In accusing the girl of theft we are attributing knowledge and intent to a 17 year old girl at the time when she may have decided to publish or acquire the images that she may not even have appreciated she didn’t have ownership rights to.

Most people probably wouldn’t be absolutely clear where ownership of copyright lay in a photograph, leaving aside the   question of fact as to whether she did illegally acquire the images or took them with a form of implied licence from Gilbert or with her own camera.

In general, the AFL’s modus operandi has been to minimise the consequences for their players from a legal standpoint possibly becaue they fear the financial consequences the club and players would face.

Part of the disgrace from her point of view, as described by her, in her own words  was that possibly she was involved in doing something ‘morally wrong

The St Kilda Football Club tried to exercise damage control but ended up being tarnished by their wrongdoing.

The game of AFL is tarnished.

From the reactions of the officials, it is no more than a bogus organisation and absolutely nothing has been done to salvage appearances in the true sense of the word.

To call the AFL’s  attitude overbearing is the understatement of the century.

What is most disappointing is that the public doesn’t seem to have any expectations or standards, nor do the media, bar a few exceptions such as Hinch and Cleary.

There is a public interest in this affair beyond that which relates to how football players adhere to standards which respect women and their respect and responsibility programs.

This isn’t just a “private affair” as conveniently portrayed by the media and spin doctors.

There is a public interest in how club members and taxpayers subsidies are expended which were earmarked for other purposes, connected or unconnected to footy, not school clinics which sanction this kind of predatory behaviour towards minors.

Nothing will surprise me  when the highest goal of the AFL is to protect their brand equity or product and handballing in the name of damage control is the predominant concern.

Related posts:

  1. Dikileaks – Saints, Level Playing Fields & Other Phallusies
  2. Dikileaks: Legalities AFL Photo Scandal
  3. Dikileaks: When Using a PC Isn’t PC
  4. Dikileaks Saints & Sinners Law
  5. Dikileaks – Girl Ordered by Court To Destroy Photos
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  1. Interesting write up. Have you get proof to a lot of these points or just copied them of others sites?

    For example, just to point to one, you mention “Andrew Demetriou claims that he met with the girl 20 times”. Have you got evidence of this? That HE said HE met with her 20 times? I think you have chosen to rely on a very unreliable source (i.e. “the ‘Human Headline’”) for facts and he got it wrong! Andrew didn’t say he met with her 20 times, he said the organisation had met 20 times with her and her parents. Here is part of the interview (not 100% accurate but close and here is the actual interview:

    “would have been at least 20 occasions were there has been meetings that we (AFL) have been involved in with this girl and we’ve also provided her with counciling service, support services, certainly accomidation, we’ve offered her assistence to provide councilling, we’ve offered support to her parents. We take these matters very seriously when we’ve got a person in our organisation thats responsible for looking after these matters. We signed up to a respect and responsiblity policy many years ago one we take very seriously and one that we are very proud of in the way we have improved as an organisation. ”

    Forgetting for a sec that a lot of the points made here are one side of the story, and I don’t know about you but I have found in my life there is normally three versions of every he said, she said stories/issues. There is one side, the other side and what actually happened.

    But the thing that gets up my goat is always throwing in the AFL in these matters. Whatever actually happened, there is a fairly high chance that the Players did things that they wouldn’t be proud of. I think the Saints have supported the players and at time, probably did things they might do differently after the fact, but of all the parties involved, I am yet to see what the AFL could have done that much better. They seem to have tried to help the situation, help the girl. They (the AFL) seem to have showed her respect and concern for her welfare. They still as late as Christmas offered the girl help if she wanted it. So I mean, repeat the Hinch rubish, take everything the girl is saying as absolute fact but at least point your anger at the right area!


  2. pacelegal says:


    Thanks for your response.

    Just responding to a few concerns you raised:

    1. Andrew Demetriou said that his organisation “we” have had at least 20 contacts. He didn’t say he personally met with her. Acknowedged. Does this matter? I wonder whether someone will seek access to this information if they are interested in the number, nature and upshot of these meetings between the AFL or their authorised agents. From my perspective, at this point in time, I think the way that the support was characterised is of more interest in terms of how the girl has been portrayed and the impact that this had on the perception of her by the public in the mainstream media.

    2. If you are going to put the responsibility on the players and the club, the question that arises in my mind is what kind of people are at the club level? What is their ‘achilles heel’, their biggest weakness if you like?

    I’d be interested to know whether you have thought about this or have the answer to this riddle. What is the thing that makes them less than rational or capable of making balanced objective statements?

    In my opinion one of these factors is that, at the leadership level, many are also fanatical fans of the game. The heart and soul of a football club in the AFL is that it is ‘boosters’ that are at the height of the club. By contrast, American sporting organisations are run by professionals. I don’t mean that AFL club officials are not professional, however they also happen to be, in many cases, fanatical AFL fans, and they are the driving force in an AFL club.

    Do you think it is a reasonable expectation for the AFL or any football club to be totally objective about these kinds of matters?

    At some point, in my opinion, I feel it is incumbent on the AFL to step in because the players, clubs, official, staff and employees are, for practical and possibly legal purposes AFL AGENTS.

    Their actions and inactions have the potential to bring the AFL into disrepute. They have a duty to the remainder of AFL clubs in the competition.

    Your question was ‘What more could (the AFL) do?

    If the AFL don’t think that the actions of the club were adequate in any given situation, they are in a position to take action.

    Of course I understand they need to be careful about what they say in public, and their spokespersons such as Demetriou, as they could be held vicariously liable themselves for their comments.

    However at some point in time, after some reflection there should be SOME ACKNOWLEDGEMENT of some deficiencies of the AFL’s systems, some soul searching and a big dose of humility. This has been conspicuous by it’s absence. People need to be aware that there is life outside of football. I think the major sports should encourage and be more supportive of minor sports. The attitude of the AFL shows a degree of contempt for minor sports, in allowing the portrayal of her by people within the AFL organisation as an “AFL groupie”. Where somebody within the AFL says something inappropriate or offensive we could easily take it as being endorsed by Demetriou where he is silent on certain matters.

    This girls with “issues” was a champion athlete, from what I have read marginally elite as a sportsperson. She is a fellow athlete and shouldn’t be stereotyped as a groupie when she is probably as rare a talent in her sport as they are in theirs. The only difference is that her sport wasn’t as popular. There was less money involved. As she described herself all she did was train and do her schoolwork, before taking up modelling which accords females in general a lot more recognition than their participation in sport. She fell into the same trap in some ways, as they did. As she described she enjoyed the glamour and the spotlight. She was candid enough to admit that her life took a wrong turn and she was pulled in the wrong direction when she started to lose focus. Looking back she now sees the warning signs.

    The AFL have a similar problem although the stakes are much greater for football players. There are higher level rewards than ovation. Part of the ceremony for a Roman triumph consisted of a slave riding alongside in the chariot, whispering in their ear “you are not a God, you are a mortal man“. Despite the high honour bestowed upon them they were supposed to conduct themselves with a degree of dignified humility. Perhaps the St Kilda Players and all young men immersed in the culture need someone whispering this in their ear. Perhaps they could do this in the off season over in Wisconsin or Idaho where young girls havn’t heard of AFL football.

    I am exercising caution in what I write and am offering commentary on matters which are yet to be proven to a legal standard in court. It is commentary from her perspective as a woman based on what she has said and more importantly what she feels.

    I have also engaged in a fleeting sense, in a superficial analysis of the various cause/s of action being spoken of and offering opinions based on hypotheticals. There are strong themes in the football clubs, repeated boundary violations, therefore these discussions aren’t even necessarily specific to these events. It looks as if these types of situations will keep recurring so my commentary is directed to the possible approaches to them. It is simply an open discussion.

    It is unique to football, a game I love. It could equally apply to a Doctor who sexually attacks a pharmaceutical representative and patients because he happens to be in a position of influence and power over them. Somebody needs to remind them that there are certain boundaries that shouldn’t be transgressed. You see the same type of defensiveness in the medical fraternity, where the professional regulators try to keep the misbehaviour behind closed doors or ‘within the family’. This is to try and maintain an unrealistic image of the profession because this is what they see as in their best interests.

    If the AFL don’t take any action or make any further comments this leaves the players, public and fans with the message that St Kilda Football Club didn’t do anything wrong. Clearly they did. It shouldnt’ be a case of “anything goes”. If the AFL don’t do anything football clubs and organisations will lack accountability both in a moral and legal sense. It will make a mockery of the respect and responsibility programs and bring some disrepute on the players who do conduct themselves with a great deal of integrity and serve as positive role models.

    This is an opportunity for the AFL, under the leadership of Andrew Demetriou, to tell the players, public, clubs and fans that AFL players cannot simply behave how they want, with impunity.

    Where the AFL intervene in a way which only maximises their short term business interests and minimise the legal consequences for their players and agents, everybody suffers in the long term. The AFL lose credibility and in the long term even the players suffer.

    We all know about what hearsay is and how dangerous it can be. (he said/she said). When something is proven to a sufficient legal standard through the admission of relevant probative evidence in a court of law it becomes a legal fact. Until that time however the AFL have had a lot of power in the court of public opinion which they have been using I believe in a way which doesn’t serve their public image.

    I have never believed that the AFL will pursue legal action against the young teenager. I believe that it was part of a well orchestrated media campaign to influence public opinion and it seems to have worked very well.

    The AFL have attained an interlocutory judgement, a preliminary judgement granted when a court balances the convenience and interests of litigants in deciding whether to order a stay if you like. In this case it was a measure to put a halt to the publication of further information by the girl.

    The decision was made based on limited evidence. The teenager didn’t have legal representation until late in the peace. The Court is merely issuing an order to restrain her disseminating further photos or information pending any court action which may be pursued by the Plaintiff. However, it is always open to the Plaintiff to discontinue the action, or for the defendant to seek to have the action dismissed. It is very early days.

    There is a lot of case law on this which I am sure you are familiar with on whether or not an interlocutory judgement should be granted by a Court.

    It isn’t determinitive or decisive as to any fact/s in issue which may be aired at a later stage in a substantive trial. The purpose of the injunction is to suppress information and make a determination as to whether there is a need for a judgement PENDING any proceedings which may be pursued. However my belief is that they will be either abandoned

    I have listened to the interview between Demetriou and Neil Mitchell on 3AW VERY CAREFULLY in addition to reading the reports on the interview in the media. I have dissected the interview painstakingly.

    My concern is that the AFL, through Demetriou, has not made sure that the players have fulfilled any legal obligations they may have or been held to account for any code of conduct violations.

    If a St Kilda football player was indeed the father of the young girl’s twins, I ask myself whether the AFL have any duty to ensure that the girl is supported throughout her pregnancy, particularly if as she has stated the player in question cries and drops the ball.

    Does the AFL have any role or responsibility to publicly comment on the assistance provided or the actions of the player concerned. I am talking about the practical assistance re: supporting a pregnant woman in many ways, including child bearing expenses, let alone maintenance, emotional comfort, legal support and nothing less than full co-operation with the authorities.


    If you listen very carefully to what was asked of Demetriou by Neil Mitchell during the interview, I think the things that Demetriou didn’t say are the most telling of all, OR the things that he said only once.

    These consist of the things that exclude the “TALKING POINTS” if you like, the official AFL PARTY LINE. For the things that weren’t said or the odd gratuitous remark dropped in I think come from the guts.

    When asked to enlarge on the legal issues and in particular the “legitimacy of the original complaint by the girl” he responds, quite appropriately “no comment”.

    I understand he cannot elaborate for legal reasons, however if you listen very carefully he always loops back to the TALKING POINTS, an example in point being in relation to the above question. We are left with “no comment”…..but I WILL ADD AGAIN Nick is a fine citizen, Nick is a wonderful person.

    To anyone who is familiar with media, politics or PR, one can discern a well worn theme and pattern which emerges when an organisation is under siege.


    We are all aware of what talking points are. They are the things politicians and spokespersons, CEOs and PR people come to interviews wanting to say and re-inforce and they continue to loop back to them irrespective of what the initial question is to achieve that objective.

    The following is a summary of DEMETRIOUS’ TALKING POINTS during the interview:

    1. WE OFFERED/AFFORDED THE GIRL SUPPORT (20 contacts at least, either through people in our organisation with the requisite expertise or facilitated the process)

    2. SHE IS A YOUNG GIRL WHO HAS ISSUES (repeated over and over in loop fashion. A very nice but indirect turn of phrase to put her down and inferentially belittle what they have done wrong. The sub-text is clearly “we don’t have any issues, what more could we have done” and it worked masterfully on the public. Much of the public commentary echoes this theme.

    3. “NICK IS A FINE UPSTANDING CITIZEN, A GREAT MAN ON AND OFF THE FIELD” Interestingly Demetriou adds that Nick is “also a great player”. He also describes him as a fine citizen on and off the field, which I would imagined would be subsumed under the “on the field part“. However it gave him the opportunity to repeat his talking point approximately four times. The incantation was NICK HAS GREAT VALUES. I DON’T THINK THIS IS A POOR REFLECTION ON NICK AT ALL. NICK IS WONDERFUL.




    7. I THINK SAM PROBABLY FEELS TERRIBLE ABOUT THE THINGS HE HAS DONE. THERE ARE ISSUES BETWEEN TEAM MATES. I AM SURE HE IS ASHAMED OF WHAT HE HAS DONE IN RELEASING THE PICTURES IN THIS WHOLE NEW WORLD (You will notice that he wasn’t commenting specifically on Sam’s alleged misdeeds in relation to his behaviour towards the girl, rather the focus was on the horrible ‘social media thing’ a la the boys need to be more careful next time. Does this mean they should be more careful in engaging in a Facebook conversation which is reproducible so that the boys don’t get caught?)


    Andrew Demetriou quite responsibly and appropriately failed to respond to the legal and other questions that could be used either against him in Court or could be seen as being against interest in a any future court action (whether taken by either party for that matter). There is one matter which is sub judice, and therefore one can’t blame him for uttering the words “no comment”, however there was a lot of spin thrown in to his responses, constant re-iteration of the talking points, gratuitous backhanded sleights about the girl’s character and a conspicuous tone of ‘the innocent players have been injured’. What was missing was any acknowledgement of remorse, regret, soul searching or sign of self-reflection.

    Unfortunately what the fans in media land hear and take away with them are very quick “no comment” responses coupled with the re-iteration of talking points which set the tone of the debate as one of the villain versus the innocent. There was a holier than thou attitude which, in my opinion, was unflattering to AFL football. However most people seem to see it differently.

    Your last paragaraph in fact is quite clear evidence that the strategy employed in the radio interview and the indoctrination of media worked exceptionally well on you. “the thing that gets up my goat is…….i am yet to see what the AFL could have done better, they seem to have tried to help the situation, help the girl…….showed her respect…etc“. Therefore if it worked with you, a person who is an experienced published media blogger, podcaster and AFL commentator, my guess it that it would be more than likely to work well with the public.

    There is an issue of a lack of fair and balanced coverage.

    Demetriou talked at length about what she has done wrong.

    All I am doing is trying, in vain, to inject some balanced commentary into the conversation. Demetriou is effectively gagged in many ways. As a non-journalist and non-party, I can offer my opinion and commentary about the way the issue has been played out.

    I am just part of the community, and wish to express my views about the possible consequences, social or legal, about what the consequences are of the AFL’s response.

    What I say will be unlikely to have any real bearing on the case, as I am just a blogger and my readership is small. There is a minority, including myself, who do have a desire to understand all of the implications from different angles. I have no primary sources of information. I am not a witness or potential witness, nor do I have any other kind of involvement.

    I read what is contained in the media, but with an eye for what impact it could have on the rest of society socially and legally. The media was held in check and their first punch had an enduring effect on the perception of this girl who we really know very little about.

    I should be perfectly free to say what I think. I am certainly much freer than the mainstream media is, and I believe there is little prospect of me getting an interview from anybody in the AFL let alone cobbling together the millions of dollars necessary to get a television contract. My only concern is potential and I wouldn’t wish to publish defamatory material anyway. My interest is in being balanced and fair in what I say in any event.

    The internet media fills an important gap particularly where there is a threat or implied threat to cut the media off. It is quite insidious when you consider the broader implications of how much control over what people watch or read. The US military has an effective veto power over what is included in war movies. If they like your script or movie they will lend you equipment or even personnel. Think how much it would cost to re-create the equipment which won’t look nearly as good as the real thing. It is much cheaper to just be nice to the US military if you are producing a war movie.

    I truly believe there are many reasons why both the girl and the public should feel aggrieved by her treatment and more generally the general pattern of behavior by the AFL. This is part of the reason why she is fighting the issue. She knows that the behaviour will just continue and they will be onto the next girl. From what I understand her intention is to both let other girls know of what ‘the deal is’ and try to curb the poor behaviour of AFL players. I think she is realistic enough to appreciated that there will never be an end to it, but is hoping that if she applies enough pressure there may be some positive change that may come out of it.

    She has also expressed a desire to be a Journalist. It isn’t just about revenge. It is about the public interest. Just as importantly it is about other girls not being naive and suckered into behaviour which would cause them to suffer what she has. It is not unknown for journalists to be passionate and occasionally get into trouble as she has. Journalists have faced contempt of court charges which have landed them in jail. The fact that she has strong personal feelings isn’t inconsistent with having motives beyond self-interest. Perhaps a good start for her in her journalistic career would be to approach the girls, who would obviously trust her more, having been through something similar. With her contacts she could probably shape future events in a very positive way. The more people see the less likely people are to be able to ignore it.

    I believe the fans are almost certainly aware that these things are going on but it is much easier to ignore it when it is not in their face. People aren’t naturally conditioned to go into denial when people hear about things that are happening to someone far away. However if she has a way of bringing the victims stories into focus, to humanise them and bring them to life, that would definitely start to do some serious damage to the clubs. If they wanted to avoid this occurring they would have to start taking real steps to start dealing with the problem.

    She is a sign of future hope for females and for the game of AFL in bringing about real and positive change in the future. She could contribute to society in this way. Her actions certainly moved me, and her courage is quite extraordinary given the consequences she has faced. Partially because she was just so angry and in her own words who likes to stand up and be heard, she had to defy her family to take the action she has taken. Most people wouldn’t take the action she has taken due to the damage and embarrassment to both themselves and their family. The subject she is talking about is a very personal one.

    Generally young women victims are not inclined to boast about their humiliating mistreatment and have a well documented tendency to blame themselves. This is why crimes of sexual exploitation have a low rate of being reported to Police, let alone become public knowledge. The guilty can often use that sense of fear and shame to avoid punishment particularly where they are powerful and connected to other powerful interests.

    The media is being pressured to keep quiet about these incidents, an unspoken threat that we feel quite free to not accept from a television station that reports in a manner we don’t like. We will take a lower price for our product from someone who does our bidding for us, and keep our secrets safe.

    In all fairness I may come off as a little biased towards her.

    I am moved by her courage and I don’t see this as a crime. This is merely opinion journalism with no real readership.

    I feel this girl just needs to be supported as the casual listener havn’t judged her fairly.

    When I listened to the comments of Demetriou, that small phrase “no comment” I noticed how much power the AFL have and what kind of army they have at their disposal to shape public opinion.

    However within that small phrase “NO COMMENT” there is a whole world of discussion and any number of causes of action. Interspersed with the “no comment” sound byte there has been a lot of gratuitous commentary about her ‘issues’, her ‘illegal behaviour’ and her biggest crime, namely using the internet as a vehicle for telling her story.

    By contrast there has been a deafening silence as to what causes of action may be open to her.

    The fans get a distorted view as they listen to Demetriou, the Club and the AFL.

    What the AFL repeat is only their side of it.

    The desparation I detected was a function of the realisation that the internet can be such a powerful tool for those with no voice, no credibility, no media machine or PR army.

    The mainstream media will only cite the AFL as they don’t want to be accused of publishing or re-publication of potentially defamatory material and for other reasons tied up with financial interests and media ownership.

    As for Demetrious’ point about their being “ no winners out of this“, we know there very rarely are, especially by the time someone has run to court for a legal judgement to suppress information.

    Part of the problem in my opinion is that we have an organisation filled with people whose mindset is to win at any cost. The ‘players’ have that psychology to win ingrained in them and they have come up against an opponent in a 17 year school girl who also wants to win.

    Who would argue that the AFL legal eagles would also want to win especially where they are up against the internet….lol.

    The older players, officials and spokespersons have perhaps learnt to temper their desire to win with a dose of wisdom with regard to the ‘win at all costs’ mentality and the flaws associated with it.

    There is a dysfunctional downside to that psychology and flawed thinking which has a distinct downside. The AFL have been overly aggressive engaging hot ticket lawyers to scramble to court for relief with lightening speed.

    If the ‘there are no winners attitude‘ is something that is truly one embraced by the AFL it would be a painful thing, but should inspire them to do the hard work to seize the opportunity and do the hard work to make the real changes that taken by the AFL it would be a painful thing, but might cause them might make a difference to the game of footy in the long term.

    I love footy too, but am disappointed by the well worn response.

    It would be in the club and the AFL’s interests to think that way instead of using threats and legal action to shut this girl down.

    The AFL at least publicly CLAIM they want to win and have a ward of the state on a chain for 15 years.

    Demetrious said “we have done everything we can to put our professionals in place and work with those that have the expertise”.

    He said “I don’t think its a poor reflection on Nick at all“. His main bugbear seems to be that there is a media feeding frenzy and irresponsible journalism over a few silly photos. His focus in the interview was on “all these terrible things have happened” as a result of the internet.

    The AFL has both a positive duty and a negative duty.

    Their positive duty is to intervene when there are clear indications a club or players are out of control either on or off the field. They have done it before in enforcing code of conduct violations over far lesser matters.

    They also have a negative duty not to shield the clubs or players’ from the negative consequences of their poor behaviour.

    it might be in their short term business interests to continue to tow the party line, but it certainly isn’t in anyone’s long term interests.

    After all, who is going to sign the contracts in the future? How much value are schools going to place on players attending leadership functions or school clinics? That was the way St Kilda got their field!!!

    So when St Kilda wants future contracts I have no doubt that there will be questions raised over potential liability. Everybody suffers, including the AFL, the players, the school and students, the parents, and the schools. It is not in their long term best interests to engage in a culture of cover up.

    When the players step out of line and the media, police and angry parents come after them the AFL should say ‘hey you are on your own. You behaved poorly. You made your bed. Lie in it. When the wolves come after them, let them do it.

    The AFL could admit that there is an element of regret publicly and force their players to confront the consequences of their own actions. Otherwise the players will continue to experience that sense of invulnerability that induces them to do the Fevola type dance until their career is finally brought to an abrupt end.

    The clearest evidence of the attitude of the AFL that needs adjusting is the differential treatment of Bingle versus “poor Nick”. Lara Bingle did not consent at any point in time to the photo being taken of her and reproduced by Fevola who was just being an idiot.

    This girl is a teenager who, whilst strong, is also understandably very fragile and has been marginalised.

    The AFL’s lack of any response to the Bingle incident was, by comparison, very muted.

    That is what is very wrong with the AFL’s response.

    The AFL have been very sympathetic to the “great man, on and off the field, fine upstanding citizen” but very indifferent to Bingle and the girl.

    The consequence? Fevola continued in his behaviour and the negative protections he enjoys lead him to slip through the system, a system which isn’t sufficient to protect him either. Football players are under a lot of pressure and need every bit of help to keep them in line.

    A telling point in the conversation is when Demetriou says “I am sure Sam feels terrible about what he does, and have issues with team mates, re: ashamed of what he has done in releasing the pictures, in this whole new world




  3. pacelegal says:

    Hi F. Briggs,

    I agree with what you are saying

    It is a societal problem

    Young men because of the way they are hard wired need very strong pressures, including peer pressures and parental type pressures to keep them in line.

    If you look at what happens in wars, by and large, biologically we are talking about the same people, young and relatively fit men. The abuse of women by men is ubiquitous in many spheres of live.

    It is a question of how much of a priority is it to exercise supervision over these teenage and young men by these parental type figures to stop them engaging in tendencies that are driven by biological and social forces? If left to their own devices, and their behaviour continues to go unchecked, what will change?

    Is controlling the misbehaviour important to the General in the military or the Coach on the footy field?

    The fate of one of those girls who get caught up in the mess is important, and it is even more important that the correct signal is sent to the young men and women which they idolise.

    I think you are spot in your comment that change needs to happen in society as a whole and that it starts at the school level.

    The existing problem is magnified by the fact the AFL is an important influence in shaping players’ behaviour but is sitting on the sidelines condoning it. The behaviour of these sporting stars and the consequences that they everyone suffers, particularly their victims, have an important influence on the future generation (like it or not)

    I agree with you when you say there is a very limited relationship between sex and pregnancy which has had serious impacts on society.

    If you look at the studies, and followed up with candid interviews with girls who are teenage mothers, a very high percentage of them didn’t fall pregnant by accident.

    Very often it is the women who have exercise control over birth control methods in popular use, except for condoms.

    I think in these kinds of situations which have occurred, it is very easy for behaviour to pass into illegality. We have two young people both likely influenced by social and chemical factors, peer pressure and drugs. Each of these influences in and of themselves are very potent, but lethal in combination and leave a trail of carnage.

    Allowing those situations to develop or creating the conditions where they are able to recur is not a good idea.

    Men do think this way you describe and it starts in the school. It is a question of education and a level of social acceptance of the behaviour, coupled with a lack of even light condemnation of it. Any condemnation is nullified or neutralised by the kudos factor.

    With regard to the differential treatment of men and women, both men AND women treat women very badly who step out of line.

    The treatment of men who step out of line is treated far more lightly or in some cases there are no consequences at all.

    Some say there are specific evolutionary reasons for the way men behave in exploiting young women and that this is hard wired into them as human beings.

    I don’t subscribe to that theory. IN mammals the mother of the child is obvious, the father unknown without DNA testing. The restrictions on womens’ behaviour is the only tool available to control the paternal lineage of the offspring.

    But I really prefer not to think of human beings as MAMMALS. We are supposed to be human beings, capable of thinking, reasoning, compassion and feeling.

    We don’t just act as cavemen and engage in medieval behaviour. This is a lame excuse in my view. Just as the biological behaviour of little boys is predictable, it doesn’t mean we should allow it to express itself in damaging ways and cause predictable and unnecessary damage to young men and women who are either victims of it or observe it.

    How do we create change at the school level?

    You have asked a very good question and one I wish I had the answers to.

    I think the old social structures have broken down and we need to figure out alternatives.

    In the past girls would be afraid to succumb to pressures because “my parents will kill me“. Little girls play with dolls. They want to reproduce. They play mummy and daddy. They want a family. That urge is kicking in even as a teenager.

    Someone has to step in and say “not quite yet” I don’t think it is matter of being puritanical, but having a complete laissez faire attitude leads to sex orgies and group sex as happens all too often unfortunately inside and outside of the school gate.

    I wouldn’t want to take the judgement away from two young people who are of the age of consent and are committed to one another. We know that there are young men and women who are minors who are mature enough to decide that they wish to have children and stay married forever. However very often the parties expectations of a relationship and one another are quite different.

    The old cultural framework has broken down. We decided it isn’t a good idea to stone or punish women or isolate them by resorting to medieval and completely unacceptable sanctions.

    We have to work out alternatives. I think strong positive mentor figures in schools play a critical part in a childs’ development. There is also a need for support for parents with children who may be identified as being at risk for various reasons.
    We need strong educators who work with parents, children, and members of the community.

    If one of the player’s parents proclaim they don’t wish their child to be involved in any activities at all with boys in certain contexts, whether for social, cultural or religious reasons this has to be respected.

    After all we live in a multicultural society where we are supposed to exercise tolerance and respect. However on the other hand, we don’t want to isolate boys from girls, as realistically you would have to do that for the rest of their lives.

    Men need to develop the internal controls they need to refrain from engaging in destructive behaviour with young women. Men need to be taught to respect women as equals and part of that flows from women respecting themselves.

    I don’t have the solution, although I would like to see diligently devised programs in schools which strive to enable men and women to see one another as human beings.

    Behaviourism has the strong point that it actually works. Humanism seems to many too ideal to counter the strong urges that we are dealing with.

    I think is a question of what level of control we want as a society to exert over young people. We need to recognise that all children and young persons are different, and not adopt a one size fits all mentality.

    Schools have such a large part to play in the development of children, and I would like to think that the broader community can be connected to the schools without the risk of young people being subjected to possible abuse. Schools are an important part of the process of social controls that are placed upon men and women from a young age. They have to be on board. This applies to a broad range of professionals and celebrities, and it wouldn’t hurt to try to instil in young people an attitude that celebrities are defined a bit more broadly than pop stars and footy players.

    When you get out of school you enter the school of life! Community integration with positive role models for schools is in my opinion an essential part of that process. I am not an Educator, however I have asked myself how many crime prevention programs target women compared to men?

    In my opinion, for what it is worth, I think the strongest influence on these young boys or men is what the girls expect of them.

    If none of the girls paid attention to them unless they behaved appropriately, the damage may be minimised. This is not to take the ‘blame the victim‘ mentality. However the equal role that women play in society has to be more broadly recognised and re-inforced in society within the education system and the budgets for crime prevention programs.

    Respect for women is much easier to foster if the women are taught to respect themselves. This girl, unlike the AFL, has the maturity and wisdom to at least acknowledge that some of the things she did in hindsight showed a lack of judgement, hardly a sin.

    I hope that by reflecting a little more on the consequences of what has happened to her, and what she can do with her future (as she has done) is a painful but important part of the process of educating us all.

  4. Franko says:

    Outstanding article. Will you try to have it published in the MSM? You should.

  5. Neil Prentice says:

    A couple of points if I may.
    Admitting my bias, I am a fanatical StKilda supporter.
    I think you mean Zac Dawson not Zac Posen.
    I had understood, in the Andrew Lovett case, that the incident took place at Sam Gilbert”s apartment. I had also understood that Gilbert had declined to have sex with the girl in this case because he deemed her to be intoxicated, and then told her to sleep on the couch, where the alleged incident with Lovett took place.
    If this is correct it puts Gilbert in a good light in my mind, as he showed empathy for the woman”s/girls feelings in this instance.
    This appears to be contradictory behaviour to that which he is being accused of with Ms Duthie. (Please tell me she is not the woman involved in the Lovett case).
    Has Ms Duthie produced any evidence that Gilbert did text her these inducement to have sex with a group of players? Or has this just been stated by her? I think this makes a big difference.

  6. pacelegal says:

    Hi Franko,

    Thanks for your generous comments. Firstly, I am not trained in journalism which would probably be apparent from my lack of proofreading. However I suspect that even if my insignificant contributions had any quality or literary merit at all, my views wouldn’t be welcome in mainstream media. I am just trying to inject a bit of balance into the discussion as indoctrination by mainstream media is very powerful. I doubt that this will happen given my very small readership. However that is the beauty of the internet isn’t it? Everyone can be ‘published’. Everyone can be a self-styled journalist or editor. There are a significant minority such as myself who I think share similar views regarding this issue, and the internet is the only medium through which minority views can be expressed. There is a need for caution to be exercised due to the potential liability of bloggers and online intermediaries as we have already witnessed when powerful interests are threatened.

    I sincerely hope that truth wins out in the end. It is really refreshing to read that other people havn’t just passively consumed the AFL party line and are prepared to open their minds and their hearts and exercise independent judgement.

  7. sooty says:

    to Phillip Molly Malone , proof you ask re 20 visits? ….well im sure there would be minutes of each meeting. i bet you my last dollar it is 5 times as the girl states.
    They have a history of ignorance and pretend to have a heart. how do i know? my daughter was raped by a footballer and my only response from them was a few years after the crime after i sent them a letter telling them i was disgusted in them. their reply letter suggesting i speak to the police ombudsman, no questions asking how my daughter was health wise etc. if they could help her in any way.

  8. pacelegal says:

    Hi Neil Prentice,

    Re: being a fanatical St Kilda supporter I can appreciate you have biases, as we all do.

    I am a Western Bulldogs supporter, and agree, beyond legal reasons, it is important thing to be aware of our own biases.

    For example I didn’t like what happened to Jason Akermanis, and yes there was a lot of hearsay mixed in with the ‘truth’ the details of which I will never know.

    I apologise profusely to you and Mr Zac Posen (if you are out there Zac Posen) for my serial typos regarding Mr Zac Dawson and Zac Posen. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

    In respect of the “Andrew Lovett” case you are making remarks about incidents based on facts which I am reluctant to remark upon.

    I was merely re-stating the girls’ version hence the quotation “my side of the story” as published by who.

    There are some missing details in the version of her story I accessed.

    I am sure we will find alternative narratives and evidence which would conflict with both her story and the narratives of others involved.

    I have worked in criminal law in private practice in addition to the Director of Public Prosecutions for a short time.

    Even in the courts it would be expected for there to be inconsistencies in evidence of all kinds, including but not limited to witness statements and issues of identity. The laws of evidence also preclude some kinds of evidence being admitted which further restricts evidence available to be considered by a Court of law in arriving at factual determinations.

    I do not know the identity of any of the persons involved, and it wouldn’t be proper to speculate as to their involvement in wrongdoing. This is for a court of law to determine to the extent that any issues are in dispute and sub judice.

    I have however alluded to what I have seen or read, for instance a Facebook transcript involving an alleged conversation between Sam Gilbert and the teenage girl.

    Judging from what appeared, Gilbert was inducing the girl to come to a group sex event and bring a friend, sight unseen to partake in a group sex event. There was a fair amount of pressure involved in my opinion and it was fairly clear, at least on the face of the portion of the transcript I read, it was not something she was inclined to want to do.

    Sam Gilbert, once again based on the portion of the transcript I viewed, made it very clear he would have been very grateful if she complied with her wishes. If this is the case, this doesn’t necessarily render him guilty of criminal conduct, depending on all of the facts and circumstances. I am not in a position to judge him morally however it reveals something of her attitude, at least as portrayed through this transcript. This could be a selective representation of all conversations which the couple had, but it was not something I think it is a dangerous pattern of behaviour.

    In respect of any text messages she alleges in her story or elsewhere which have been sent to her, in terms of both their contents and their evidential integrity. This would I imagine depend on forensic evidence which is a specialist area.

    Any transcripts disseminated on the internet would have to be assessed in terms of their evidential integrity, and if used in a court of law for any purpose their veracity assessed based on evidence presented.

    She hasn’t testified to the things she has said.

    She hasn’t testified in a court of law to anything.

    I do understand that even if the original documents (including text messages, any further images, videos or transcripts) were available they have not been admitted into evidence by a Judge in legal proceedings under the rules of evidence and procedure.

    However what we are talking about here is an article written by a non-journalist in the spirit of social commentary, rather than an investigative journalist or a legal practitioner. As you will note from my blog I am a qualified lawyer with a Masters degree, however my purpose is to give my opinion as a human being rather than legal analysis. I understand the perils and more importantly the damage done to human beings by publishers who make accusations which are either unfounded or where legal proceedings may be contemplated.

    However I am writing from the perspective of a human being first and foremost, a person who has read a lot of harsh commentary coupled with some serious (unsubstantiated allegations) made which I think violate this girls’ dignity and reputation.

  9. Mark Willis says:

    To Neil Prentice.
    I believe you got confused with Sam Gilbert and Jason Gram re Andrew Lovett’s case.
    It was at Jason Gram’s place and Jason Gram refused the girl who was drunk.
    Another story, is that some of the photos depicted ….. players indulging in snorting substances and other similar sorts of goings on. One of the reasons Melbourne’s media (radio,papers, publishers and journos) were allegedly informed from afl hq, that any media organisation who promoted this story would be “cut off” from the afl. The tv station who had the story (video and photos) were allegedly told that if they ran it, they would never again have football on that station.
    It wasn’t just over “that” photo or two.

  10. pacelegal says:

    Hi Mark,

    The names of the players are familiar to me however once again I don’t wish to buy into any allegations of who did what to whom and when. These matters are for a court of law to adjudicate although we all know that there are incidents that have come and gone and many will remain dead in the water. Nothing will ever happen unless there witnesses come forward, whether players, officials or other women.

    As things are shaping up, it doesn’t appear that people are likely to do so in this climate of fear.

    The spectre of AFL Headquarters possibly threatening Melbourne media in these ways is a frightening and disturbing one.

    Using threats to conceal their unsavoury activities, doing both with public money may not be criminal but is certainly an abuse of power.

    I am aware that there are wars over football TV rights as well.

    I have always suspected it has always been over more than just a photo or two.

    Time will tell whether more evidence will see the light of day or be buried.

    It is Dikigate and the culture of cover up which is obscenely offensive and a reminder that we can’t call ourselves a true democracy if out media are gagged. I guess it is called capitalism.

    Media owners in the US tend to stay out of scandals to a lesser extent and only really care about the ratings. The exception of course was Murdoch. Murdoch doesn’t behave like a typical American owner and hasn’t endeared himself except perhaps to the conservatives.

    He doesn’t use the normal media modus operandi. He allows his political views influence station policy. Most media empires are only interested in profit and are not as focused on editorial content as long as money is made.

    LOL..Then again media owners are dark and mysterious individuals and it would be difficult to discern what their political views are from watching their programs. A lot of them would be conservatives, but TV news is by no means dominated by conservatives in the US. It is dominated by the moderate or middle left, the heart of the democratic party.

    I hope that this incident just isn’t buried as has happened with past incidents.

    Maybe the internet has changed the game for football.

    If the mainstream media are excluded from commenting, it doesn’t stop the blogosphere from taking up the slack, until they are shut down. As a practical matter, as events have shown it is pointless.

    This girl has transformed the landscape by using the internet and she took a big risk in doing so. She is now paying the price. I hope it pays some dividends to compensate for what she has been through.

    At least she is contrite enough to admit that she has made mistakes and has regrets about her judgement.

    It would be nice if grown men who aren’t minors, who are powerful, with well lined pockets with the media on a leash could show some humility or make a concession to the effect that they are not perfection personnified.

  11. Allison Denman says:

    As a St Kilda Saints supporter and a fifteen year old girl, your article to me was probably the most well written I have seen on this subject, but somewhat biased. You’re regarding a lot of the girl’s side of the story as facts, while saying everything the AFL says are just possible.
    She has lied to the country with her claims that she took the photos, which has since been proven false, and targetting an innocent player (Nick) who has done nothing wrong. Why should we believe anything she says?

    You say: “The St Kilda football players are sending messages almsot urging her to kill herself”. Thats a very serious accusation, and I have heard nothing of this. Are you sure you’re not confusing the players with the Twitter users sending her death threats?

    I want to know where this girl’s parents are in this situation? Why were they letting her run around in an adult’s world? Why aren’t they, who probably know her best, doing anything to help her? Surely they would have had some idea of what was going on with their daughter, why weren’t they at least trying to protect her?

    If the AFL or St Kilda believed that the players had done anything wrong, then yes, they would’ve received punishment. But this leaves you to wonder IF they have done anything wrong at all.

    But just keep in mind the Saint’s motto: Strength through Loyalty

  12. pacelegal says:

    Hi Allison,

    Thanks for your response.

    As stated in the opening paragraph, I was merely relaying the young girls’ story, a story that hasn’t really been given much coverage. We have heard a lot from the mainstream media about her, however little from her. She talked to WHO magazine and it was her turn. Finally it was her turn, although she has already been condemned by the public and zealous fans.

    I believe that her sentiments and feelings deserve to be aired. If it turns out that she is not telling the truth or is embellishing in any way about facts she has related, that is another matter. We have been told over and over by the AFL and media of the innocence of the players. I found the statement about Riewoldt made by Andrew Demetriou, namely he is a “fine upstanding citizens, both on and off the field somewhat amusing

    I suppose if you are a fine upstanding citizen it would not need to be necessary to talk about one’s off field behaviour. It is superfluous. The AFL has talking points just as politicians do, and in dealing with the matter they are not prepared to comment on the veracity or authenticity of the Facebook transcripts or any allegations made which may very well vindicate these girls’ statements.

    We have heard the well worn official party line of the AFL being towed through these talking points which are plastered all over the mainstream media. Quite a few gratuitous remarks are thrown in to contrast the images of the players with this “troubled girl” before the officials loop back to the official party line “our players our wonderful”. Apparently this technique works well in the mainstream media particularly with an audience all too ready to buy wholesale what their club officials tell them to think.

    I think every human being deserves the opportunity to tell their side of the story, unless of course they cross the line into what is legally proscribed behaviour.

    The sentiment I am getting from you is that we should treat everything that comes out of the mouths of the AFL club officials as gospel and not even pause to suspend judgement, open up our minds and consider the competing allegations which have been made.

    To seek to silence someone at the first opportunity they have an to talk to a magazine and tell their story seems a bit shortsighted and demonstrates a form of bias, or to put it another way, a form of wilful blindness.

    The tendency to reject out of hand any competing assertion made by the teenager, particular where it challenges their preconceived beliefs shaped by the media and spin doctors is alive and well.

    I respect your right to hold your own beliefs. However I hope that perhaps one day you are prepared to open your mind to the possibility that you might be wrong. I realise that it is difficult for some people to allow the images of perfection they so strongly adhere to of players to be compromised.

    These images of perfection lie at the heart of the problem. Footballers are mere mortals, and would probably have an easier road to travel themselves if their fan base treated them as such. They too are human beings with faults and imperfections.

    Everyone could do with a little less judgement, even the players. But there is also something called reality and the players interests aren’t served by such a one sided unbalanced and thuggish response.

    A lot of the things this girl is conveying fall into the realm of feelings and reflections about what has been a tumultuous and painful experience for her. I think anyone who suggests someone is lying about their feelings should seriously examine what feelings are. Perhaps you are conflating facts with feelings.

    It is true that people do delude themselves and many of us believe what we feel is real.

    Your remarks sadden me. They suggest we should dismiss another human being’s feelings as somehow unreliable. But at the end of the day these feelings do after all, belong to this girl, and nobody can appropriate them even if they manage to succeed in hijacking the facts.

    As for the messages being sent by St Kilda players, this is indeed a serious accusation and as stated it is definitely not something which has been confused with Twitter users sending her death threats. I am prepared to keep an open mind about whether the messages are as serious as stated. Will we ever know if the evidence never comes out?

    However I find your comment about the possible confusion a bit disturbing. Irrespective of the source of the death threats I don’t personally subscribe to the view that death threats are appropriate under any circumstances irrespective of their provenance.

    There was a suggestion (unproven) that there were death threats from several sources. However she said she was receiving messages from St Kilda players which she interpreted as suggesting she kill herself.

    If indeed this is true it speaks very poorly of any human being, given the state she is presently in. IF you follow current events you will be aware of how many teenage suicides occur in the real world online by teenagers who are bullied, harrassed, and in some cases encouraged to commit suicide.

    This is tragic in and of itself……

    Your comment that if the AFL or St Kilda had have believed that the players did anything wrong they would have acted frightens me. It shows how willing you are to trust in the AFL and ST Kilda Football Club as the fourth arm of Government doubling as a court of law, the repository of all that is good and true in the world. I hope that you learn to question things that you read and turn your mind to how you might feel if you found out that the AFL and St Kilda Football Club have betrayed girls your own age. I hope that your future actions aren’t guided solely by the belief that the AFL or a football club will always protect you were something to go horribly wrong.

    You want to know “where were the girls’ parents in this situation……etc“. This is very consistent with the ‘blame the girl or her parents’, find a scapegoat, anyone but the AFL or the players.

    Your reaction really does speak poorly of women and their reaction to other young women. This girl was one year older than yourself. We don’t know what her circumstances were. We don’t know what really happened. I don’t want to think that you will distrust all authority figures or football heroes. Part of the process of growing up is learning that people have flaws. Regardless of what happened, we have heard a lot of startlingly similar tales from a lot of young girls. I hope you consider that not all of them are lying. We also know that a lot of football players are under a lot of pressure and incidents of misbehaviour are very common.

    For any woman to speak so harshly of another woman who has lost two children, and be so prepared to blindly accept and put their faith in the AFL, the club and their players shows a lack of compassion and a completely closed mind. I hope that when you see your friend heading down the wrong path, you would stop and try to protect her, rather than put your faith blindly in those who you want to believe would protect her. There is a lot of money involved in sports and once legal practitioners become involved the objective in court is to win. The Management has a duty to brief Lawyers in a way which serves their organisations interests. They could even be removed from their positions if they didn’t do what was best for their club. Lawsuits don’t always serve justice or the public interest.

    Remember all we have at the moment are allegations, hearsay and an interlocutory judgement; an interim judgement was obtained to prevent the girl publishing any further information which may reveal disturbing and inconvenient truths. It is not a judgement on legally admissible probative evidence tested before a court of law. The matter is sub judice but I doubt it will ever make it’s way to court. I believe it was part of a well orchestrated media campaign to discredit the girl in the eyes of the public and fans and it obviously worked masterfully.

    Therefore I presume that you are basing your beliefs on a desire and it seems almost a desparation, an unshakeable faith to “believe in the AFL“. I don’t know how much you know about the behaviour of football players in the past and the culture of cover up which has existed. AT the very least it tells us it is possible that sexual exploitation of women has happened time and again over a long period of time, then at least that tells us there could be some credence to what the girl is saying. We know that many previous incidents were buried. There are so many examples.

    If you wish to pre-judge the matter based on your instincts then I hope you are right. Believe me, I would prefer that nobody has done anything inappropriate. However I prefer to keep an open mind and suspend judgement before the evidence is in, if it doesn’t get buried as past incidents have.

    It is beyond my conception that a woman could not feel some compassion for another woman who has lost two children.

    But just keep in mind the Saint’s motto: Strength through Loyalty – This really says it all. It is all about loyalty, even blind loyalty, loyalty to mates and heroes. There is indeed strength in numbers and loyalty even if it is misguided.

    Loyalty in a team sport can unfortunately quickly degenerate into a mindless pack mentality where innocent people are harmed.

    I admire your loyalty to your club, but I hope for your sake and the sake of all young women that young women make good choices about the relationships they form. Perhaps you have very good values and know how to exercise good judgement. You may also have a strong relationship with your parents, but not everyone is fortunate enough to be in the same position.

    This is not their fault. We shouldn’t blame the victim or someone who makes a bad choice in life.

  13. pacelegal says:

    I feel the same way Adrienne. The pursue her to hell, hold her legal hostage for 15 years if Ross Lewin is able to obtain judgement against her (unlikely) is all a farce.

    What now re: the Police and their investigations given what we know of the past.

    I too wish others would come forward and force the changes you are talking about. It is all about saving face.

    I agree 100% that the newspapers and the AFL are not fostering a positive environment in which other women can feel safe in coming forward.

    THe other quandary you raise is the continued viability of the school clinics and parents feelings about them. YOu raise so many valid points.

    I have thought long and hard about the common law duty which exists in schools vis a vis children under their care and control who they stand in a position of loco parentis to, and have a duty of care to protect. I don’t think that duty necessarily stops at the school gate. It isn’t that simple. I think s48(4) deserves further consideration as it seems to be enshrining that common law duty and is quite explicit and broad as to who the possible parties are who can be held liable for conduct under the section.

    Of course a lot depends on the facts and circumstances, however consider that the duty of an educator or anyone who falls within the designated categories in the section could be liable for events which flow from the initial contact, even if the offending behaviour takes place outside the school. To give an analogy OH&S laws apply to Employers re: stress claims after employees who experience hazards at work leave the office. So too does a school’s obligation to protect children from cyberbullying which continues beyond the school gates.

    I havnt’ fully explored the players’ liability under the section and my ‘opinion’ is not that of a practising lawyer. I am a lawyer by profession and don’t currently hold a practicing certificate. I am certainly interested in this angle as I think everyone is overlooking the legal injuries the girl has suffered and the implicatons for the future of the AFL’s p;rograms at school clinics.

    If only the AFL would be prepared to take some responsibility then these programs could be of great potential in enhancing the lives of young people rather than a concern which weighs heavily on a parents’ mind when considering whether to send their child to school on school clinic days.

    Thanks for your insightful comments and questions, many of which I would also like to know the answer to

  14. pacelegal says:

    Hi Sooty Five,

    Firstly sooty, what can I say to you?

    My heart goes out to you and your daughter.

    I’d be interested to know more, but of course reliving the circumstances must make you feel powerless, helpless and traumatised all over again. I think this is what this girl has tapped into and that is why it is so threatening to the powers that be.

    In general victims need to have genuine human concern shown to them for a variety of reasons, other than human compassion and decency, just as accused persons have certain rights to be treated as innocent before proven guilty in the face of allegations of criminal behaviour.

    Witnesses open up to people who are caring and concerned.

    When witnesses start opening up information can start pouring like a waterfall which could be useful to the Police and the AFL to stem damage caused to society.

    There has been a history of neglect and a number of incidents we know about publicly, even conceded by Demetriou himself.

    I have no doubt that there are many others we won’t ever learn about.

    I hope you are your daughter were able to access some support through outreach agencies such as victims organisations, although this may have not been of much consolation.

    As you may know all too well, there are only a certain number of avenues of appeal regarding failure to lay charges from the perspective of a complaint against Police at an administrative level. After internal investigation, there may be a possibility of an investigation through Ethical Standards regarding any conduct of a Police officer which may contravene certain standards of policing.

    The bureaucratic maze can be very perplexing for people, even native speakers of english, and reasonably educated. I wonder about ‘victims’ who are even more disempowered by facing a system with language and other barriers.
    There is no room for ambivalence. Whether they really cared or not is irrelevant, but is so important to victims. What victim wants to be treated like that when they are already traumatised.
    Secret police files which are in existence with respect to AFL players, coaches, board members and staff members are now available to the AFL through the Victorian Police. You may have already heard of the agreement that was negotiated between the league to exchange records with respect to AFL identities which was pretty controversial and widely publicised. Many were unhappy with the agreement, however IMO the AFL are a pseudo-public body and have an obligation to discipline players.

    If Police divulge information to the AFL so that they can do their job, which is complementary to what the Police are doing, I see this as a form of mutual co-operation. I can see the dangers and the benefits, so understand the legitimate concerns of persons who spoke out against the Agreement in strong terms.

    To the extent that it means the Police are more likely to obtain information they require to prosecute or exonerate someone innocent, as the case may be, it promotes the administration of justice. Like it or not, there is now legal authority for the Police to turn over documents to the AFL. How often it happens is something I am not aware of. It represents, in theory, a high level of co-operation. Under the Agreement the following information can be sought:

    text, images, audio and video, may be stored on computing devices, in hard copy, or on other storage media, and includes (but is not limited to) data related to individuals, aggregated data, written reports and correspondence, memoranda, police diaries, official notebooks, running sheets and other data repositories“.

    Information extends to information on AFL players, members, coaching staff, senior officials and executives, employees and agents. Essentially those having AFL having official duties in relation to AFL matches.

    Therefore whilst one can seek access under FOI laws to documents of a public agency such as Victorian Police, it MAY be possible (and this is something I would explore with someone properly legally qualified) to obtain access to the internal documents of which you speak in terms of contacts with the AFL. As with any request for access to documents under Privacy or FOI legislation there are competing interests to be balanced and provisions setting out exemptions and those which pertain to documents obtained through third party agencies.

    I have done a lot of FOI requests and despite the cynicism and complexity of the overlapping regimes dealing with access to information I wouldn’t underestimate the power of FOI in keeping checks on all kinds of excesses.

    I understand the concerns of the AFL PLayers Association that they want privacy protection, however on the other hand they forfeit some of that privacy by consenting to things such as tests for steroids which some see as breaches of privacy in a workplace. They can go and play footy in their backyard if they don’t wish to play ball and get another job. They are also bound by contractual agreements.

    To obtain access you are required to demonstrate there is a justifiable reason relating to the integrity of the competition. Anything of a potentially criminally nature would most certainly satisfy that test I would think and possibly extend to issues relating to moral integrity (however that is defined) to issues of reckless endangerment and abuse of position/power.

    However it is defined it is intended to be broader than criminal law. Criminal law by it’s nature is very specific whereas ‘integrity’ is much broader. You can make an embarrassment of yourself and bring shame on yourself and other people very easily without breaking any laws.

    The alleged rationale for this radical agreement was never explicitly stated but it would probably be used to gain information relating to investigations as broad ranging as alleged sexual assaults, misbehaviour, gambling, associations with criminals and the use of illegal drugs by players. The Agreement requires that you need to establish there is a potential for someone being charged, as stated a lesser standard required to charge a person Yarrest or convict them of an offence.

    There are important reasons Police shouldn’t be too liberal in divulging information obtained in the course of conducting their investigations, so there is a need for caution through the imposition of limitations and restrictions, however I see a good rationale for the agreement. Those who advocated against it should perhaps balance the fact that Police share information with other Government agencies and increasingly other kinds of organisations in both the private and public sector (a line which is becoming increasingly blurred in the modern state).

    That begs the questions, under what circumstances can the Police share information on an official basis, and which bodies they can share it with.

    Under administrative law public bodies such as VPOL are clearly subject to FOI bot it becomes more complicated when dealing with quasi administrative non Government agencies and other organisations. (QANGOS). Some organisations fall outside the definition of a public agency or authority or the definitions in information privacy legislation. The legislation is complex, inconsistent and a maze to navigate.

    In this case, under the agreement we are talking about the AFL whose legal nature is that of a club, a chartered organisation. Access to documentation is limited under the administrative law regime.

    As you mention it is of little use when records are destroyed or information never recorded. We were told by the media of allegations of the destruction of documents involving player interviews by Police. On the other hand, the inability to produce either any acceptable exemptions for the failure to release the documents or documents which ‘didn’t exist’ or were ‘lost’ would certainly raise a suspicion as to why they don’t exist. This is in and of itself potentially useful information.

    Access to documentation is something I have pursued vigorously in my life through agencies and non-Government agencies, and I have learnt to be prepared to not have elevated expectations about the scope and nature of information able to be accessed. Also if you were ever going to pursue this strategy to gain access to information I would be prepared for a certain level of obstruction. I have never been discouraged and I wouldn’t completely foreclose the option of external review of decision makers to grant or deny access to information under privacy or FOI laws. Don’t assume that large organisations don’t raise bogus objections that can’t be overcome through administrative review.

    FOI can be really powerful tool, however organisations can be very resistant to it particularly where there is a lack of transparency. FOI legislation and administrative law processes are a critical component of transparency and openness in a democratic society.

    The regime is complex now as there are different types of bodies to direct FOI complaints to, overlapping and sometimes inconsistent legislation across states, which is dependent also on the type of organisation you are dealing with in seeking to access legislation. VPOL are subject to FOI. If bureaucracies were completely trustworthy there wouldn’t be a need to subject them for formal external controls, but there isn’t any reason to believe bureaucrats are more saintly than the rest of the population. Left to their own devices they can fall victim to a variety of pathological types of conduct. Where any malfeasance or misbehaviour involves corruption it is difficult and complaints often fall under the radar and remain invisible.

    Information is power and there are very obviously going to be disagreements about what should be public about the processes engaged in by various bodies in conducting investigations or making decisions etc. I think there is a consensus that there are too many things that are kept secret because some powerful person has managed to successfully argue the case that it is in the public interest to them to kept locked up.

    I don’t know whether you followed through with your Ombudsman request and how you found the process. The Ombudsman system is supposed to have a lot of independence but their efficacy is contingent on the extent to which Governments are willing to allow them the freedom to investigate into controversial and non-controversial decisions alike. The powers of investigative bodies in the admimistrative law sense are all limited to some degree.

    You can challenge the legality of an administrative decision, eg by the Police to not proceed with charges, however this is a costly and complicated exercise for the courts. For practical purposes the Crown enjoy a high degree of immunity from this form of review known as judicial review, however things are changing and public administrators should be subject to judicial supervision. Once again it comes down to resources to do so. This is the only other check on bureaucratic power. Recourse to administrative remedies is just an extension of human rights law in my view.

  15. Dream says:

    There was an article that precipitated the young woman posting nude pictures of the St Kilda players online.

    If you check the date and time you will see it was published before the young woman posted the pictures. Although she is not named, the victim in this story is identified as being the same girl involved with the St Kilda players.

    I saw at least one report that alleged that the young woman posted the pictures in retaliation or frustration at having been identified by Anthony Dowley in this article.

    All subsequent articles by the Herald Sun omitted the link between the stories.

    Only later in the week did Derryn Hinch identify the connection.

    I’m still of the opinion that Anthony Dowley was in error by effectively identifying a victim of a crime, let alone an underage victim.

  16. poor effort says:

    A really poor article about a situation it’s so important to discuss well. So disappointing. You take everything she says as gospel (she’s lied about how she got the photographs) and state: “St. Kilda Football Club have publicly asserted that she stole “the photos” when referring to the Riewoldt Miami photos. It is a bit premature to start talking about stealing or theft which has a moral connotation of intent to steal, to deprive a person of ownership of property”. It’s a bit premature for you to presume everything she says is the truth and condemn the Club and players for their behaviour (and believe me I don’t think they’re all innocent). In your response to Allison’s well written comment you state ” I was merely relaying the young girls’ story, a story that hasn’t really been given much coverage”. No, you weren’t ‘merely’ relaying. You’ve added commentary and judgement.

    This and any similar situations require a real, in depth knowledge of things before commentary. A biased perspective results otherwise and ridiculous comments like Spida Everitt’s pathetic twitter comments recently. Opposite view, equally as in the dark about the situation however.

    As for your response “You want to know “where were the girls’ parents in this situation……etc“. This is very consistent with the ‘blame the girl or her parents’, find a scapegoat, anyone but the AFL or the players”. That’s a fairly natural reaction for a situation involving a 16 year old, not just a victim. I would hope all 16 year old have a family they could turn to.

    “But just keep in mind the Saint’s motto: Strength through Loyalty – This really says it all. It is all about loyalty, even blind loyalty, loyalty to mates and heroes. There is indeed strength in numbers and loyalty even if it is misguided”.
    Oh for god’s sake, now you’re using a club motto thought up a hundred years ago as proof of their club culture? I’m sure that piece of evidence will stand up in court. Well done.

    You are infuriating. The girl deserves better. She’s being used for ratings gains by tv and radio. Anyone who does blindly back a club can easily pick apart your posts and dismiss them. You’ve achieved very little, IMO.

  17. admin says:

    Hi there Ms Marie,

    I feel no pressing need to apologise.

    However it appears that you are just an apologist for the culture of drugs, group sex and misogynistic behaviours that plague the AFL in their dealings with women over something which is immaterial to this.

    Have some pride in the organisation and some respect for the honour and integrity of those players that serve the sport and the community, upholding good values.

  18. Betrayed family says:

    I just wanted to say in relation to the connection with the suspended Police Officer, that I fully appreciate the impact his actions have had on that 17 year old girl. Prior to those events he was instrumental in the breakdown of my marriage with my now ex-wife due to engaging in an affair with her behind my back. She still denies it happened, but I have found out from various sources that it did, and the evidence is far from circumstantial. He told her what she wanted to hear, exploited her vulnerabilities, knowing full well she was married and had children. That didn’t stop him from taking her home when she was drunk, having his way with her (admittedly with her consent) continuing the relationship and not caring about the impact his actions would have on my family.

    I believe it soured when she found out about his involvement in this scandal, and this culminated in some of it coming to my attention and the ending of our marriage. These types of people do not care about the results of their actions, only about getting their end wet and the power they can exert over another person to fulfill their own selfish agenda, regardless of the human cost and heartbreak they cause. I believe that people like this (hopefully former) police officer should never be allowed to hold any position of trust or authority and absolutely should be made an example of by those in authority. If we can’t trust those in power to uphold the integrity and community resposibility the have been entrusted with, then what will become of our society in the future?

    Everybody has a responsibility for their own actions, which quite a few people tend to conveniently forget. The media has a responsibility to report and commment on these critical abuses of authority, but once again, very few in the mainstream media tend to want to tackle these tough issues unless there is a real benefit for them, without any fear of backlash. They would rather sweep it under the carpet, and in the meantime people like this still do what they do, give their peers and colleagues a bad reputation and tend more often than not to get away with their actions, compared to a regular person in the same situation. But as they say, the jury is still out on this issue, and we can only hope that common sense, truth and justice prevail.

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  21. admin says:

    No apology.

    I don’t think the truth will ever come out.

    I don’t think anybody will ever know the situation and the reasons for that should be self-evident to any reasoning person.

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