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ARU not looking for second offender in text scandal

Roar Guru
27th October, 2014
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3593 Reads

It’s the wrecking ball bad-news rugby story which won’t die.

Just when the Australian Rugby Union thought that it may have, finally, washed its hands of the unsavoury Kurtley Beale text message scandal and moved on, it has reared its ugly head once more.

Di Patston, the Wallabies business manager who resigned after it became public she’d been subjected to highly-offensive messages sent by Beale to teammates, has spoken out in frustration after the backline star was fined $45,000 by a code of conduct hearing.

But it’s not just Patston’s sense of dismay that Beale had lied to her in June when he apologised for inadvertently sending her grotesque images of an obese nude woman with her name in two separate captions below that will continue the whole sorry saga.

As the tribunal ruled on Friday night that the second, more offensive, image had originated from a third party, the pressure is now on the ARU to investigate whether it had been sent by another Wallaby.

But the national body, widely condemned for its handling of the episode since Beale and Patston were involved in a mid-flight spat four weeks ago, said on Monday it wasn’t about to go looking for answers.

An ARU spokeswoman told AAP “if new, relevant information comes to light, we’ll investigate that information”.

ARU chief executive Bill Pulver was also unavailable for comment.

Beale’s statement submitted to the tribunal, and leaked to The Australian, revealed he originally sent a text to a group of Waratahs players two days after joining Wallabies camp on the Gold Coast on June 3.

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Six days later, Beale mistakenly sent two obscene images to Patston when attempting to send it to Queensland hooker James Hanson.

Patston told The Australian she was so distraught by the tribunal’s findings, which cleared Beale to return to the game, that she was physically ill.

“If it was one image or two or 20, what does it matter?” Patston asked.

“They were both of very obese women in a very derogatory way. I am overweight and they were both naked with everything exposed.

“He (Beale) doesn’t know my background. I’ve had an ongoing illness myself and I’m on medication. There’s a whole story behind it.

“I actually said to my dad I felt bullied into not telling anyone about the photos because I was embarrassed.

“I’m not good. Life is probably the worst it has ever been. I’m alive but there have been times I haven’t wanted to be here.”

In Beale’s statement, he acknowledged that he did not reveal to Patston when he initially apologised to her that he’d sent the offensive image to some Waratahs mates six days earlier on June 3.

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She told The Australian she wouldn’t have forgiven him if he had.

“Even as I was cuddling him, he said `I promise you, Di, I haven’t sent this to anyone’,” she said. “It’s like he played me for a fool.”

* Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 and Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.