Group Of Footballers Took Photos As They Sexually Assaulted Teenager

Group Of Footballers Took Photos As They Sexually Assaulted Teenager

A group of footballers - including Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers's son - celebrated winning a cup final by sexually assaulting a teenager and photographing it, a court heard today.

Group Of Footballers Took Photos As They Sexually Assaulted Teenager

The Brighton and Hove Albion players wanted to have “a permanent record of their conquest”, jurors were told.

The four sportsmen took the 19-year-old back to their hotel room and attacked her after celebrating victory for their club in the Sussex Senior Cup, it was alleged.

Brighton players Anton Rodgers, 19, Lewis Dunk, 21, and George Barker, 21, and former team-mate Steve Cook, 21, who now plays for Bournemouth, deny sexual assault.

Rodgers, Barker, and Dunk, of Brighton; and Cook, of St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex also deny voyeurism at the Old Bailey.

The offences were said to have happened at the Jury’s Inn Hotel in Brighton in July 2011.

Richard Barton, prosecuting, said: “This case concerns how a group of young professional footballers, intoxicated after a night out together celebrating a cup final victory, took advantage of a young woman, who herself was intoxicated and who was obviously in a vulnerable condition.

“After taking her back to a hotel room, they waited until she had fallen asleep, and so was unable to resist, and then sexually assaulted her in a deliberately humiliating way. 

“They compounded the humiliation by taking photographs of themselves doing so in order to have a permanent record of their conquest.”

He added: “They did so for their own gratification, intending to share the photographs between themselves and they may have done so to share with others at their football club.

“These were the actions of a group of arrogant young men labouring under the misguided belief that by reason of their privileged position they could with impunity take advantage of a young woman in this way, because even if she realised what they had done to her, she would not dare report it.”

He said the teenager - described as chatty and bubbly - did not tell police for six months “through fear of repercussions”.

She finally made a complaint about being “repeatedly taunted” about the incident by another footballer at the club.

Mr Barker told the jury the woman eventually went to police some six months after the alleged offences when another Brighton footballer - who cannot be named for legal reasons - revealed he had seen pictures and videos of her from the hotel.

Mr Barker said the woman had provided a “clear and compelling account” of what the four players did at a time when she was “unconscious and so very vulnerable”.

“Some of these defendants accept that something inappropriate did happen, but point the finger at someone else, denying their own involvement,” he said.

“Sadly the truth is that they were in it together. They deliberately humiliated her and they did so for their own sexual gratification.

“If anyone during the trial were to suggest that it was a joke, then you may think it was singularly unfunny and constitutes conduct going far beyond that which would ever be considered acceptable even in jest between friends.

“Here it was with a vulnerable unconscious young woman and as such, the prosecution say, it constituted criminal sexual misconduct.”

The families of the accused, including Liverpool boss Brendan, were in the public gallery as the case was opened.

The trial continues.

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