Former AFL player Adam Heuskes has been nominated for The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame after being accused of rape twice in two years.
The Frownlow Medal is awarded to the player whose off-field demeanour epitomises the values of the modern-day footballer and draws attention to the status of footballers as role models to young Australians. It covers Australia’s four major football codes; the National Rugby League (NRL), Australian Football League (AFL), the A-League (Football) and Rugby Union’s Super Rugby competition. NRL player Shaun Kenny-Dowall won the inaugural medal in 2015, while NRL star Jarryd Hayne is the most recent recipient.
The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame honours former players and players who received media attention in previous seasons, for similarly scandalous behaviour, and its inductees include Ben Cousins and Julian O’Neill.
Heuskes was accused of rape in 1999 and 2000 while still playing AFL.
The first incident is alleged to have occurred in London while Heuskes was on an end of season trip, and became the subject of an episode of Four Corners on the ABC.
In that episode, a woman known as Sarah alleged that she met Heuskes in a London pub and stayed at the house of a mutual friend that evening. In that house, the woman claimed that Heuskes raped her while at least four of his Brisbane Lions teammates watched on.
Sarah is said to have reported the incident two weeks later to Scotland Yard detectives, but by then Heuskes and his teammates were back in Australia. All players disputed the claim and no charges were laid.
In July 2000, Heuskes quit the Lions, citing boredom. A fortnight later, he was accused of raping another woman, this time outside a nightclub in Adelaide. Six weeks after the allegations, however, the South Australian DPP, Paul Rofe, withdrew the charges saying there was no reasonable prospect of a conviction on any criminal charges.
The woman was eventually paid $200,000 as part of a confidentiality agreement.
Heuskes was never found guilty of either charge. He is now happily married, and is free to attend this year’s awards night for The Fronwlow Medal and The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame.