NRL star Jarryd Hayne has arrived back in Sydney after vehemently denying allegations he raped a drunk woman during his time as a professional NFL player.
Hayne returned from a trip to Israeli capital Tel Aviv on Thursday morning, and was reportedly ushered out a side door of the international terminal by federal police to dodge the waiting media scrum.
The ABC reported that Hayne was led away by a “bodyguard”.
The Parramatta Eels player has kept a low profile since the case came first emerged on December 20, apart from a statement from his lawyer denying the allegations.
Hayne left Australia for Israel within days of the media coverage of the Californian lawsuit, after having already spent a holiday in the country in early December.
Hayne’s accuser filed a civil complaint in a California court, alleging the 29-year-old took her back to his San Jose home after a San Francisco 49ers game in late 2015 and allegedly assaulted her.
Court documents lodged in the US claim Hayne took the woman, referred to as “Ms V” home in an Uber and she passed out in the car “due to her extreme level of intoxication”.
The victim says she was a virgin at the time and wasn’t able to give consent to sexual intercourse due to her level of intoxication.
Hayne says he previously provided all reasonable assistance to US authorities when the woman went to police in May 2016. Police investigated the matter at the time, but dropped the case due to a lack of evidence.
In a statement from his Sydney lawyer, Hayne said he “unequivocally and vehemently” denies the allegations.
Hayne admitted the pair “hooked up” after being contacted by one of her friends on Instagram.
It’s understood the NRL star would be expected to return to the US if the woman is granted a jury trial as she’s demanding.
The woman, who claims she didn’t immediately report the incident for fear of being discredited or blamed, is seeking monetary compensation for “emotional pain, anguish and severe distress”.
Both the Eels and 49ers denied prior knowledge of the matter and the NRL’s integrity unit is monitoring the case.
– with AAP