It seems almost unbelievable. Personally, I can't imagine anything worse than a night out at Melbourne's dodgy Crown Casino. Yet alone "partying" with the Carlton Football Club and sleeping with has-been Brad Pearce. But to wake up to find some disgusting prick raping you ... well it's just horrible beyond compare.
Well, that's what apparently happened to one poor young lady in 1999. Heath "The Culprit" Culpitt decided that, in the world of AFL football, it's one in, all in. One of his mates had picked up, so he reckoned he was in too.
Naturally, she went to the police about this crime. No behind the scenes pay-off from Culpitt's employer or "rape fees" paid from the AFL's coffers (as they propose). But this is where the story takes a breathtaking turn.
The police completely botched the investigation. The Assistant Commissioner (Simon Overland) said "We believe what she's told us but we don't have sufficient evidence to bring a case." Where is the evidence? The detectives assigned to the case ignored her calls for years, neglected to examine the crime scene, didn't interview witnesses for five years, failed to take any DNA samples and - get this - mysteriously "lost" the interview tape.
While Overland describes this as an "almost total systems failure", I would suggest this incompetence is of such a degree that we can't rule out corrupt behaviour. Are these awe-struck detectives so beholden by the bewitching spell of footy fame that they feel AFL players are entitled to a few rapes? Are they Carlton fans, perhaps? Did they ask for autographs? Do they collect stickers and bubble-gum swap cards? Were they just so excited at meeting their (22 year-old) hero that they lost all perspective? This possibility appears to have at least been entertained by the police top brass:
Mr Overland admitted that while most police were not reluctant to investigate famous people, he could not discount the possibility that some officers "wouldn't be intimidated or wouldn't have other reasons for perhaps not pursuing allegations against high-profile people as vigorously as they might". (The Age, 10/02/05)
Now, the boss is making soothing remarks about the detectives' culpability in all this, and asks us to trust the police - who showed no interest in pursuing justice in this poor woman's case - to investigate allegations against their colleagues (The Age, 14/04/05)!
To have been sexually assaulted by an AFL player must be a truly horrible experience. To be then subjected to unsympathetic, unprofessional and incompetent - or possibly even corrupt - investigators is harrowing and can only worsen the impact of the crime.
As bad as that is, we should not lose sight of the central allegation: that Heath Culpitt sexually assaulted a sleeping woman. It's telling that this crime of violence and misogyny (allegedly) happened in a group (tribal) situation just three days after Carlton lost the Grand Final. (This circumstance is an automatic "Red Light" on the AFL Player Threat Index - for this very reason.)
Please, do not pick up any suspected AFL players. Do not flirt with them or let them buy you drinks. Do not hang out with them. Do not even go near them. They are just too dangerous, and too likely to get away Scott free with whatever they want.
A WOMAN who claims she was raped by a Carlton footballer has called on John Elliott to help her.
"Kate", who alleges she was raped at a party after Carlton's 1999 Grand Final loss, says the former Blues boss must tell police everything he knows.
"Rape is rape and I've been fighting for justice since 1999," Kate said yesterday.
"I hope Victoria Police have taken notice of Mr Elliott's statement and ask some very serious questions.
"If you know something, Mr Elliott, please come forward. If you are talking about me, please help me and do what is right."
But Mr Elliott told the Herald Sun he had no interest in helping her.
"She said what? I have no idea and I'm not interested. The story has got totally out of hand. I'm really not interested at all," he said. (Herald-Sun, 24/7/2009)
She has also written an open letter to Elliott, to which I hope he responds. He needs to man up and account for his behaviour:
Dear Mr Elliott,
I read with much interest the comments you made on Sunday regarding allegations of rape made against players of the Carlton Football Club during the time that you were president.
The Sunday Herald Sun reported that the football club had concerns one woman might be telling the truth and that she had also accepted hush money.
I assume that I am that "one woman" you were referring to, as my case was the only one to have reached the public domain.
First, can I remind you of the fact that no, I never once accepted any so-called "hush money" - and you know that.
You would also know that not once did I ask anyone for any amount of money, nor was I offered any. (Herald-Sun, 24/6/2009)
As you can see from some of the comments, Kate has been attacked by some of the hateful, clueless idiots who post here. She has even been approached by a producer from Nine's 60 Minutes, no doubt eager to sensationalise her story to diffuse their problems with their own star, Matty Johns.
At The Speccy, we're pleased that Kate's found the strength to take this to another level of exposure and wish her the best in fight for justice. It's certainly been far too long coming.
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