Johnathan Thurston says Canterbury Bulldogs players could not defend themselves amid gang-rape allegations



October 22, 2018 12:33:26

Johnathan Thurston has decried an inability to defend himself and his teammates under team orders during the 2004 gang rape scandal that rocked the Canterbury Bulldogs.

Key points:

  • Johnathan Thurston and Bulldogs teammates were accused of sexual assault after a night out in Coffs Harbour in 2004
  • Police found insufficient evidence against players and no charges were laid, but players were told to stay quiet by the club
  • Thurston says he was not part of the group but everything was consensual

In 2004, several Bulldogs players were accused of sexual assault after a night out in Coffs Harbour. A 20-year-old woman claimed she had been gang raped by six Bulldogs players at a resort on the NSW mid-north coast.

No charges were laid against the players after a police investigation found there was insufficient evidence, but any public assumptions of their guilt went uncontested after the club advised its players not to address the incident.

In an emotional interview with Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes, Thurston — who went on to become one of the greatest NRL players of all time with the North Queensland Cowboys — said he was denied a chance to defend himself.

“It was very serious allegations. I wasn’t a part of [the group sex] but certainly we had broken team rules,” Thurston said.

“That’s the advice that we had been given [to keep quiet]. Everyone was tarnished with these allegations.

“It was a traumatic time for everyone. Obviously, the victim at the time and certainly the club at the time as well.

“I wish we could have come out and cleared our names straight away, because everything was consensual at the time.

“Speaking about it is quite difficult knowing that my daughters will probably see this when they’re older — and having to sit down and explain to them what is my side of this story is going to be tough.”

Thurston retired from rugby league at the end of the 2018 season after a glittering career at NRL and representative level, scooping two NRL titles, a World Cup triumph and four Dally M Medals in his time with both the Cowboys and Bulldogs.

Prior to his move to the Cowboys, Thurston had made his NRL debut in Canterbury colours halfway through the 2002 season, before helping the Bulldogs to the 2004 title. He would tally up 29 NRL games across three seasons with the Bulldogs.

But the sexual assault allegations levelled against Thurston and his teammates threatened to end his career.

“We believe, still to this day, we had done nothing wrong and it was just an unfortunate event that had occurred,” he said.

“Even though they’re serious allegations, everyone involved at the club knew that we were not guilty of anything.

“It was tough for everyone because we were gagged and we couldn’t give our side of the story.”

The Bulldogs have been approached for comment.










Source link

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Powered by WP Robot

%d bloggers like this: