Parramatta Eels player Dylan Brown has pleaded guilty to groping a woman at a Double Bay pub earlier this month.
NSW Police were called to the Golden Sheaf Hotel just before midnight on June 3 after a young woman reported Brown had touched her breast without her consent.
Brown was arrested and charged with five counts of sexual touching without consent.
The 23-year-old appeared in Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday, where he pleaded guilty to two of the charges. Police have withdrawn the other three charges, per the Sydney Morning Herald.
Brown’s lawyer, David Newham, told the court the Eels player “knows the trouble he is in today”.
“He can’t remember. He was that drunk,” Newham said, per ABC News.
“He’d had 15 to 20 alcoholic drinks in combination before he went to the Sheaf Hotel and while he was at the Sheaf Hotel.”
As reported by 9News, the court heard there were 25 seconds between the two offences.
The prosecution said the 20-year-old woman was “trying to have a good night and enjoy herself” when the incident took place.
“Unfortunately, she encountered the accused who grabbed her breasts not on one occasion, but two,” the prosecution said, per ABC News.
“Women, irrespective of their age, should feel safe when they go out. They should not be afraid of being accosted by drunken men.”
Magistrate Jennifer Atkinson sentenced Brown to an 18-month Community Corrections Order, which includes him seeking rehabilitation for his problem with alcohol. He was also served with an Apprehended Violence Order, which means he must stay away from the woman he groped.
In a statement, Brown apologised “unreservedly” to the woman.
“I am not proud of the behaviour I displayed, and I take full responsibility for my actions,” he said, per the Sydney Morning Herald.
“Additionally, I want to apologise to everyone connected to the club for the negative impact that this incident has caused, and I am committed to learning from this experience.”
Although Brown was initially stood down from the NRL following his arrest, the league confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that the New Zealand-born player will be allowed back on the field.
“The Club will continue to support Dylan and work with him as he learns from this experience,” Parramatta Eels chief executive Jim Sarantinos said in a statement.
“We will now work with the NRL Integrity Unit on the next steps in finalising the matter.”
Image credit: Getty Images / Cameron Spencer