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18th of January 2018

Sport



Rugby league star Jarryd Hayne 'unequivocally' denies raping woman

Jarryd Hayne played in eight games for the San Francisco 49ers in the 2015 NFL season. EZRA SHAW/GETTY IMAGES

Jarryd Hayne played in eight games for the San Francisco 49ers in the 2015 NFL season.

Rugby league player Jarryd Hayne has "unequivocally and vehemently" denied raping a woman while he was in the United States playing for the San Francisco 49ers.

Civil lawsuit papers, filed in the Santa Clara County court on Tuesday, allege the sports star engaged in non-consensual sexual intercourse with a Santa Clara woman identified only as "Ms. V," in December 2015.

The allegation comes more than one year after the case was reviewed and rejected by the District Attorney's Office, which concluded there was not enough evidence to prove the crime of rape beyond reasonable doubt.

US court documents reveal the action filed this week includes claims of sexual battery, gender violence, infliction of emotional distress and negligence.

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Ramy Qutami, of Madison Marcus Law Firm, issued a statement on behalf of Hayne, who was understood to be flying to Israel to resume his religious holiday when news broke of the allegations on Wednesday. 

Jarryd Hayne played for Fiji at the recent Rugby League World Cup. GETTY IMAGES

Jarryd Hayne played for Fiji at the recent Rugby League World Cup.

​"Mr Hayne has not been served with any proceedings or formal complaint relating to the incident," the statement said.

"Mr Hayne previously addressed a complaint made to the District Attorney's office in the County of Santa Clara, California in 2016 and the District Attorney did not proceed any further with the matter due to insufficient evidence to substantiate the allegations. Mr Hayne provided all reasonable assistance to the District Attorney with that investigation."

"Mr Hayne will not be making any further comment in relation to this matter."

According to court papers, Ms V was at a bar with friends in San Jose, California, after attending a football game between the 49ers and the Cincinnati Bengals in the afternoon, where she met with Hayne and his friends.

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Later, "[Hayne] took the now heavily intoxicated plaintiff back to his home in San Jose via Uber."

The papers state Ms V has no recollection of how she entered Hayne's home, and only remembers "seeing a silhouette of a man with [Hayne's] build coming towards her."

"The man put his hands on her shoulders and flipped her around ... instructed 'no kissing' and shortly thereafter she felt extremely sharp pain in her vagina."

According to the court documents, when Ms V woke the next day Hayne was not there, and she took his undergarment "in case there was a need for testing" if she decided to report it to the police.

A virgin at the time of the alleged rape, Ms V was fearful of speaking out for several months, before later seeking medical treatment for continued vaginal pain.

She then reported the alleged incident to police in May 2016, however the investigation was ultimately dropped due to insufficient evidence.

Ms V's attorney, John Clune of Hutchinson Black and Cook, told Fairfax Media he respected the prosecutor's decision to drop the case, as "they are operating on a much higher burden of proof that we deal with on civil lawsuits." 

He added, that while his client would have rather seen criminal prosecution, "the civil justice system is still a meaningful option for individuals to hold people accountable."

Hayne made headlines in 2014 when he announced he was leaving the NRL, before signing with San Francisco the following year.

But the stint was short lived. Hayne announced his retirement from the NFL in May 2016 before making an unsuccessful attempt to join the Fiji rugby sevens team for last year's Rio Olympics.

Since returning to rugby league in Australia he has played for the Gold Coast Titans, but will return to his roots at the Parramatta Eels for the 2018 season.

Parramatta national rugby league chairman Max Donnelly said the club was unaware of the allegations until they were made public on Wednesday.

"As with any legal matter, it is important that we follow due process and ensure that we review all relevant information available, including giving Jarryd the opportunity to respond."

 - Sydney Morning Herald

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