The Panel appointed by the South Sydney Rabbitohs has completed its investigation into a complaint made regarding inappropriate conduct by a Rabbitohs player in May of this year.
This investigation arose from reports in the Daily Telegraph on 14 and 15 September 2018, and emails sent by an anonymous complainant in May, June and August 2018 which alleged inappropriate conduct by a South Sydney player on a Facebook Messenger video call.
After being informed of the matter, the Club committed to investigate the complaint in consultation and co-operation with the NRL Integrity Unit. It appointed a panel consisting of Commissioner Lea Drake (Independent), Karyn Murphy (NRL Integrity Unit), Nick Pappas (Rabbitohs Chairman), Emily Grant (Rabbitohs Head of Operations, People and Culture) and Blake Solly (Rabbitohs Chief Executive Officer) to investigate and report upon the complaint.
Representatives of the Panel interviewed South Sydney players and staff. The Complainant was interviewed privately by Ms Murphy. The Complainant declined to be interviewed by the Panel, and did not want her identity disclosed, which the Club has respected. The Panel has also reviewed all available documentary material.
Based on a thorough review of the available evidence before it, the Panel was not satisfied that any South Sydney player engaged in any actionable misconduct resulting in a breach of their NRL Playing Contract, the NRL Rules or the SSFC Code of Conduct.
The Rabbitohs have no further comment to make at this time.
The Rugby League Players' Association (RLPA) can provide the following statement regarding South Sydney's investigation into a complaint regarding inappropriate conduct:
"The RLPA acknowledge and support South Sydney's decision that no player breached their NRL Playing Contract, the NRL Rules or the SSFC Code of Conduct," said an RLPA spokesperson.
"We also commend the club on the thorough review that it undertook and the expert panel that oversaw the process.
"We were disappointed by the decision to publish certain images in this case and some of the public commentary before all of the circumstances were known, particularly given the sensitive nature of the allegations.
"We also have concerns about the public disclosure of confidential information during the investigation – that is unacceptable.
"Regardless of the nature of the investigation, fair process demands that confidentiality is maintained, and that all parties and the process itself are respected.
"When information is leaked, or people jump to conclusions, it can be extremely damaging not only for the individuals involved, but the game of Rugby League as a whole. There is no integrity in such actions.
"We will continue working with all of the relevant parties to address these concerns."