Brendan Rodgers in public gallery as his son Anton and others go on trial for alleged sexual assault
FORMER Swansea City boss Brendan Rodgers accompanied his son to the Old Bailey today as Anton Rodgers went on trial with others for an alleged sexual assault on a 19-year-old woman.
The London court heard how a group of footballers took pictures of themselves carrying out the alleged assault, it was reported today.
The Brighton and Hove Albion players wanted to have 'a permanent record of their conquest', jurors were told.
The four sportsmen had just celebrated victory for their club in the Sussex Senior Cup when they took the young woman back to their hotel room and assaulted her, it was alleged.
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Brighton and Hove Albion player Anton Rodgers, 19, was pictured arriving at the court with his dad Brendan, who quit as manager of the Swans last summer to take up the same role at Liverpool.
Appearing with Anton Rodgers were Lewis Dunk, 21, and George Barker, 21, and former team-mate Steve Cook, 21, who now plays for Bournemouth. All deny sexual assault.
Anton Rodgers, Barker and Dunk, from Brighton; and Cook, from St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, also deny voyeurism.
The offences were alleged 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 after being 'repeatedly taunted' about the incident by another footballer at the club.
The families of the accused, including Brendan Rodgers, were in the public gallery as the case was opened.
During the hearing Mr Barton said the woman spent the evening at four nightclubs. At the last, Lola Lo, she met a number of footballers out celebrating and one bought her a drink.
“It would seem alcohol played a part in the events that night,” said Mr Barton.
But he said this was not a case of a drunken young woman who did things when drunk that she later regretted.
Mr Barton continued: “This is a case of a group of men taking advantage of a woman who, through a combination of drink and tiredness, ended up unconscious.
“She was not in a condition to resist, give consent or prevent things happening.”
The woman had later tried to ring her sister but her mobile battery was dead.
Mr Barton said she asked to use Rodgers’s phone. He was reluctant at first but agreed after she was persistent. She could not remember her sister’s number and scrolled through photographs on the handset.
“She saw there was a whole series of photographs of a young woman wearing a pink dress. The woman was lying on a bed, clearly not awake and, in some of them, semi-naked men around her.
“She looked at some of the many photographs and then realised to her horror that she recognised the unconscious woman in the pink dress was in fact herself. She has no recollection of these photographs being taken.”
It was the prosecution case that the men in the pictures were the defendants, the court heard.
Mr Barton said the woman woke Rodgers up and asked him to delete the pictures.
“But he simply laughed at her. He told her that these were nothing to do with her,” added the prosecutor.
She went to the police on January 13, 2012, and told them the details of the pictures she had seen on Rodgers’s phone.
They included her lying on the bed with her bra off and her dress pulled down to expose her breasts and shots of her bottom showing her underwear.
Another picture had Barker grinning with his thumbs up next to her thigh which had ‘GB’ written in foam on it.
Several shots featured Rodgers, Dunk and Cook by her body, the court heard. There were also shots of the footballers exposing themselves, it was claimed.
The trial continues...