Fremantle Football Club coach Ross Lyon has been named as the subject of an increasingly shady-looking cover-up of an incident of sexual harassment that the AFL has asserted it has “no problem” with.
Lyon was named by Fairfax Media as the person accused of harassment by a former staffer a handful of years ago; as a result, the club has since reached a confidential monetary settlement with the accuser.
It’s being reported that a young woman, who was working as a junior staffer in Fremantle’s administrative division, is accusing Lyon of harassment over comments he made towards her, and filed a complaint with Workcover in early 2017.
The reports state that Lyon made comments about the woman’s attire at a club Christmas function.
Lyon is said to have reported the incident to the club, who investigated the incident and cleared him of any wrongdoing. In addition, the AFL’s Integrity Unit has looked into the incident.
Despite this, the club is now said to have reached a very quiet deal with the young woman, involving a sum of money in the “low five-figures.”
AFL boss Gillon McLachlan remarkably backed in the secret payments, stating that he and the league has no problem with quiet monetary payments – what effectively amounts to hush money – being used for situations like this, provided it puts the matter to bed.
All I can say on that is … we are entirely comfortable with what’s happened at Fremantle. Our integrity unit has looked at it and ruled out imposing any sanction. Every aspect of the case was looked at … almost immediately when the complaint came to life.
What the core part of the policy is … is actually resolving the issue between the complainant and the person who they are making the allegation against.
It’s entirely appropriate and part of the policy for it to be confidential. There’s a wide series of options available for getting resolution. There are many cases that are resolved confidentially.
That’s one of the core tenants of the policy – where possible and where appropriate, the confidentiality remains because it’s resolving the issue at hand between the two parties rather than actually being something for public debate. I think it’s unfortunate when it comes out. Unfortunate for the complainant and the person who is being complained against.
Today’s news comes on the heels of another incredibly stage-managed sexual harassment investigation by the AFL, which looked into an incident involved Port Adelaide player Sam Powell-Pepper.
The Fremantle Football Club has not publicly commented on this latest story.