Soon to be ex-Carlton star forward Brendan Fevola accosted and “sexually harassed” a young female Herald Sun journalist on his infamous Brownlow night of shame, VEXNEWS can exclusively reveal.
VEXNEWS understands that the incident occurred in or near the female toilets near the Palladium Room at Crown Casino on the Brownlow Medal award’s night.
CONE OF SILENCE
While the Herald Sun has reported on his antics in general terms, it appears to have decided not to report on the sexual harassment incident at the request of the journalist, Herald Sun Confidential reporter [deleted].
Carlton sources say that she believes that complaining about the issue would not have a positive impact on her career or on the newspaper’s relationship with footballers and Carlton in particular. Carlton is believed to be very grateful about the way the Herald Sun – Melbourne’s leading newspaper – has sensitively handled what could have been an explosive situation between them. While this might be theirview, we have also heard competing views that suggest her employer and the AFL itself are extremely unimpressed with Fevola’s actions on the night and the approach his management and even the Club have taken with the issue.
UPDATE 9 OCTOBER 12PM: Grumble-bum grump-a-thon Neil Mitchell, who works for Fairfax radio station 3AW, while still collecting a pretty penny from the Herald Sun as a grouchy columnist, today picked up our story, referring to one of Fev’s targets as a Herald Sun journalist. That’s true, but he implied that VEXNEWS had accused the Herald Sun of covering up the story to suit Carlton. That’s not what we published, of course. It’s been clear from the get-go that their primary concern is the welfare of their employee. As we have made clear, there did appear to be a difference of perspective about that between people at the Club and the newspaper. We reported that. We have no issue with how the Herald Sun has dealt with the issue, in fact they’ve been utterly honourable and decent about it.
Sources close to the Carlton Football Club say the incident itself was not the reason for their decision to trade the star forward but that his drunken display ignored the “last warning” Fevola had been previously given by Club CEO Greg Swann.
Carlton has been keen to be seen to clean up its act following a furore over claims by former Club President John Elliott that the club under his stewardship was in the habit of “paying off” complainants of sexual assault by players. Victoria Police investigated the matter at the time but are believed not to be taking any further action due to lack of evidence.
GOSSIP AROUND TOWN
There are wildly varying accounts about the nature of Fevola’s unwelcome actions in the female toilets ranging from inappropriate touching to more serious actions that could potentially have landed him in legal hot water. Some of this speculation includes the suggestion that the married Fevola grabbed the young woman, held her captive while he licked her face and made an “indecent proposal” to her.
Initial talk around Carlton was that Fevola meant the unwelcome advance in jest and that he was extremely drunk.Â As we have discovered after initial publication of this story, that is not a universally held opinion, some muttering very darkly indeed about what Fevola did. We have decided not to be any more specific and have removed mention of the identity of his victim on privacy grounds in light of confirmation of the seriousness of the attack.
[Deleted]was covering the event for the Herald-Sun and had been following the controversial player’s movements during the night in the anticipation she’d see something interesting when he was interviewing people for the Street Talk segment of the Footy Show.
A common view around the club that his actions were more foolish than terrifying and it is understood that [deleted] has insisted that no action be taken against Fevola. “She has asked that it go no further,” a club source told VEXNEWS. It must also be said that is not a universal view in journalist circles that the incident was innocuous.
Legal experts tell VEXNEWS that Fevola’s actions certainly constitute an assault and quite possibly a sexual assault that could attract a serious penalty if he was prosecuted and convicted. Naturally that relies on a complainant and witnesses and Fevola is fortunate that no complaint has been made to authorities and is not likely to be.
[Deleted] has certainly shown a lot more class, dignity and decency than Brendan Fevola seems capable of demonstrating. Now he’s apparently heading to another club, we can only hope he makes the most of the opportunity to start again and keeps his tongue and hands to himself and consenting adults.