Australian football is in the middle of a sex scandal that blows away anything we've got. Months after a 17-year-old came forward claiming two footballers slept with her, she released nude photos of players and is threatening to leak tons more.
The St. Kilda Schoolgirl Scandal broke in May, after the AFL investigated claims by the girl, Kim Duthie. Duthie alleged she had met the St. Kilda players at a school clinic, one of the AFL's many youth outreach programs. She said she reintroduced herself a month later (the players claim this was the first time they'd met her) and ended up sleeping with two unnamed players. They were investigated and cleared because the sex was consensual and Duthie lied about her age.
Duthie claimed she got pregnant from one of the encounters, and the baby was stillborn. Then, last week, she posted two images to her Facebook page. One nude photo of St. Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt alongside a teammate, the other of Nick Del Santo. Printed across both images was the message: "Merry Christmas Courtesy of The St. Kilda Schoolgirl."
It's unclear how Duthie got the photos. She claims she took them herself:
She said the players "didn't exactly say yes" to having the photographs taken.
"I said 'I'm taking a photo' and they posed for it and they didn't tell me to delete it afterwards so if you call that permission then, yeah," she told ABC radio, adding that she was fully clothed at the time.
But at an emotional press conference yesterday, St. Kilda player Sam Gilbert said that he jokingly took the photo of Riewoldt and saved it on his computer. Riewoldt claims he was not posing, but had just gotten out of bed. ("I sleep with my clothes off like most people do, I would assume.") He says he has no idea how Duthie got the picture, maintaining that he's never met her, despite her claims to the contrary.
Also in question is what Duthie planned to do with the photos. Riewoldt's manager, in a Federal Court affidavit, says she asked for $20,000 to turn the photo over. It's also been alleged that she attempted to sell them to media outlets. But Duthie says she doesn't want money, and only wanted to get back at St. Kilda and the AFL for the way she was treated during the Schoolgirl Scandal. According to her Facebook page, "revenge is all I want."
She posted the photos this weekend, and they quickly spread around the Internet via social networking sites. Her Facebook account was suspended, but it was too late: they were out there. Duthie had threatened to release more photos — 19 or 21 more, depending on the source — this morning when her Facebook account was reinstated, but a Federal Court order banning her from publishing them came down today.
The photos allegedly include AFL players from many different teams, and involve drug use, according to questions she's answering right now on her Formspring page. She still says she will release them later this week, court order be damned.
So here we are: athlete dong meets Web 2.0. Soon, the middlemen in these sex scandals will find themselves obsolete. When you can post photos, and within hours have them circle the globe, there's no need to go to a tabloid paper or a blog to disseminate them. A single Twitter post can open Pandora's Box, and all the legal wrangling in the world can't put the penis back inside.