Ex-Australia teen cricketer accuses team official of rape

Australia Youth Cricket Cap
Mr Mitchell alleges the assault took place during a 1985 youth team tour overseas

Australian police are investigating allegations from a former Australian youth cricket player that he was raped by a team official during a 1985 tour.

Jamie Mitchell, 55, believes he was assaulted after a team doctor treated him with a sedative.

He made his allegations in an Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) interview.

Cricket Australia says they are co-operating with the police investigation.

Mr Mitchell has demanded the sport’s governing body provide answers on what they knew of the alleged incident.

In Sunday’s interview, he said he was relieved that “finally there’s some scrutiny of that 1985 tour”.

“Instead of being a highlight of my cricketing life, that tour has caused me trauma and distress over many years,” he said in a statement shared with the BBC.

‘Anyone could have had access’

Mr Mitchell was an 18-year-old leading batsman on the Australian under-19 tour of India and Sri Lanka in 1985. The under-19s side is seen as a “feeder” team into the national side.

On the last night of the tour on 30 March in Colombo, he said he felt unwell and went to the team doctor, who injected him with a strong drug that knocked him out for at least 10 hours.

He said his teammates were instructed not to check up on him in his room that night, and he believes in that period he was assaulted by a leading team official. He did not give any further details in the interview on how that occurred.

“My teammates left. Anyone could have come in and had access to me,” he told the ABC.

“Most of the guys have said they lost me for a couple of days. They remember putting me under the shower the next morning, to get me ready for the flight. They remember trying to dress me. And when we landed, I was wheeled to my parents in a wheelchair.”

Several people, including friends and family members who he confided in at the time, confirmed some details of his account to the ABC.

Mr Mitchell and some former teammates also recounted examples to the ABC of the official’s “creepy” behaviour towards players and also foreign children brought to the team’s hotel and other quarters.

Australian Federal Police are also investigating those allegations of wider misconduct, the ABC reported. Police declined to answer questions from the BBC, saying they did not provide comment on individual cases.

Mr Mitchell said he decided to seek answers from Cricket Australia last August after seeing a team picture online. He also reported to Sport Integrity Australia – the government’s corruption and abuse watchdog – who contacted federal police.

Mr Mitchell and other cricketers are calling on Cricket Australia to provide transparency over what they knew of the allegations.

The cricketers allege the administrators at the time ignored reports of the official’s behaviour despite appointing him as a leading official of a youth side.

They say the board at the time also did not respond to a letter of complaint from the team’s players’ families after the tour documenting players’ grievances with the team official.

Mr Mitchell has called for Cricket Australia to release his medical records from the tour. He says the board needs to explain why the team official left professional cricket soon after the tour.

“Cricket Australia has a chance to distinguish itself by facing up to this issue and doing the right thing. And that means transparency, starting with proper answers to many questions.”

Cricket Australia said it had been in contact with Mr Mitchell. The body told Australia’s Nine newspapers that it will take responsibility for allegations of abuse on past tours and matches.

The organisation however is yet to sign up to Australia’s national redress scheme for abuse victims which mandates compensation standards.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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