AFL coach’s six-figure bombshell
FREMANTLE coach Ross Lyon's alleged six-figure harassment comment to a female staff member has been revealed.
The veteran mentor's alleged statement to a former Fremantle Dockers office worker is just the tip of the iceberg in a series of concerning revelations reported by The Herald Sun on Saturday.
The bombshell report paints a disturbing picture of the AFL integrity unit investigation into the so-called hush-money payout given to a "completely humiliated" Dockers employee.
Lyon earlier this week insisted his team remains focused on their on-field performance despite the sexual harassment storm that has engulfed him.
Lyon fronted the media on Wednesday and again refused to confirm or deny whether he was the person at the centre the widely reported harassment claim that was settled last year.
His refusal to address the reports which have identified him as the Fremantle official at the centre of a concluded integrity unit investigation comes after AFL boss Gillon McLachlan came under fire from footy commentators last week for declaring the league is comfortable with hush money being used in harassment cases when a settlement is reached.
However, fresh claims labelled against the former St Kilda coach and the AFL have led to the woman at the centre of the scandal reportedly feeling "let down" by the AFL's handling of the situation.
The woman has previously claimed she was made to feel sexually harassed by Lyon at a boozy club function when the 51-year-old reportedly followed her throughout the event and made a series of inappropriate and crude remarks.
The Herald Sun reports Lyon told the woman he liked her "budding boobs". The woman was two-months pregnant.
The report claims Lyon was not the first person to report the incident to the club - claiming a female Dockers staff member was the first to inform club officials about Lyon's behaviour.
It is alleged the club investigated the incident after the woman gave a formal statement.
Lyon reportedly apologised to the woman after the investigation was concluded. It is unclear if any further action was taken by the club.
One of the most eye-catching claims in the report alleges the woman continued to feel harassed and singled out by other unidentified Fremantle staff following Lyon's apology, prompting her resignation.
It is only then that the woman reportedly made a second complaint, prompting the AFL integrity unit's own investigation.
It is claimed the woman settled her complaint against Lyon when a payment of more than $100,000 was made around Christmas time as part of a deal which included a non-disclosure agreement.
However, she continues to feel aggrieved by the way the scandal unfolded under the care of the AFL.
Sources close to the woman told The Herald Sun the complainant has been left "completely humiliated" by the "nightmare" situation and feels disillusioned that no action was taken against Lyon.
"They sent Ross to say, 'Sorry', and then she went home in tears, humiliated," an unidentified source told the Melbourne newspaper.
"That is the way Fremantle operate."
Senior Herald Sun reporter Mick Warner told 3AW Radio on Friday serious questions must be asked of senior AFL figures.
"We're reporting that the complainant in the process is very unhappy with the outcome and with the process," Warner said.
"Of particular concern is that the initial complaint was ignored or dismissed at the time, of course it was several years ago.
"A lot of serious questions need to be answered by both the AFL and Fremantle."
He said the woman feels unhappy at the suggestion she dressed in a way that justified the comments made to her.
"Another revelation is the unhappiness in the version of events published this week that this girl has been accused of dressing in a manner which brought this upon herself," he said.
"A lot of serious questions now have to be answered by both the AFL and the Fremantle about this story."
Lyon spoke publicly for the first time earlier this week addressing the allegations made against him, saying the club has acted reasonably within the AFL's respect and responsibility policy, refusing to comment further.
He said it couldn't be compared to the recent allegations that were made public against Port Adelaide player Sam Powell-Pepper, who copped a three-week ban from the AFL for making "inappropriate contact with a female".
"This is a workplace matter that was resolved (and) independently investigated by the integrity unit of the AFL," Lyon said of the issue at Fremantle.
"There's been no sanction handed down. And critical and fundamental to the policy that the AFL created is privacy for all parties concerned."
Lyon expanded slightly when asked whether the controversy had the potential to affect the player group.
"You can only go on performance. The harmony is good; the vibrancy is good," Lyon said.
"We're just focusing on what we can control, which is training well, meeting well and going to play a great team (Richmond)."
Lyon was also asked about Mark Thompson, who had been charged with seven counts of drug trafficking and possession.
"Any thoughts I have on 'Bomber' would be, innocent until proven guilty," Lyon said.
"I think that still stands in Australia - correct me if I'm wrong."
The Dockers (3-3) have shown great promise so far this season, and their progress will be tested in Sunday's clash with Richmond at the MCG. Lyon is contracted to Fremantle until the end of 2020.
- with AAP