By MELISSA WELLHAM
Cases of sexual misconduct.Performance enhancing drugs. Drunken violence on the streets. Dalliances with under age girls.
Football and scandal seem to go hand-in-hand. And this week, AFL player Stephen Milne was charged with four counts of rape, after a case that was originally closed in 2004 was re-opened. Here’s how it went down:
In 2004, days after St Kilda won the Wizard Cup grand final, players Stephen Milne and Leigh Montagna were interviewed by detectives about an incident of a “serious sexual nature”.
A 19-year-old girl had come forward, and alleged that Milne raped her at the home of one of his teammates. At the time, Milne was 24-years-old and Montagna was 20-years-old.
The inquiry then became a formal rape investigation – but a few months later police said that charges were unlikely to be laid against the pair.
Fast forward six years, to 2010. A former detective who was investigating the case came forward and said that it ‘collapsed amid a campaign of threats and intimidation from inside Victoria Police.’
Scott Gladman, the former Victorian Police Detective, revealed that he was approached by colleagues who were Saints supporters on the streets, and had phone calls made to his house. Phone calls like: “You better make this go away. You better do the right thing. You better make sure that this is done properly. This is just bulls**t”.
On the back of these revelations, it was recommended that the case against Milne be reviewed. When the case was looked at again, it apparently looked slightly different from almost a decade ago. And that brings us to where we are now: Milne will face four counts of rape.
Yesterday St Kilda president Greg Westaway announced that, in the “best interests of all parties”, Milne would take indefinite leave of absence from playing.
The ABC spoke to media academic Catharine Lumby, who works with sporting organisations on how their sportspeople relate to – and respect – women. Lumby told the ABC that “… what we need to start doing is working in the area of preventing this behaviour and there’s good research that shows that education can work as long as we follow it up with really serious consequences for people who do not step up to the plate.”
Anna Krien is the author of Night Games, a book about the highly publicised rape allegations brought against the Collingwood Football Club in 2010. Krien spoke with Mamamia about her book and the culture of football.
In Night Games, Krien unpacks the 2010 rape allegations that saw a young woman allegedly forced to have sex with a group of men, before she claimed another football player, Justin Dyer (not the footballer’s real name, but the name Krien uses in the book), raped her in an alleyway.