Cricket boss groomed colleague: court

·3-min read
Cricket Australia’s former head of communications Timothy Whittaker has denied two allegations of sexual assault. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Nicki Connolly

A second man who was allegedly sexually abused by a former Cricket Australia senior executive came forward with grooming accusations to “protect others”, a court has been told.

Timothy Joseph Whittaker, 38, is facing a contested hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court over allegations he sexually touched two colleagues without their consent.

The former communications head of Cricket Australia has pleaded not guilty to both charges.

On Thursday, the court was told an employee contacted Cricket Australia’s human resources department in December 2021 to detail an alleged incident from 2016.

Former people and culture manager Louise Lee said the man told her he’d “heard Tim was in some trouble” and felt he should come forward.

“He said to me he had heard rumours of this happening to others … he wasn’t clear on the context,” she said.

Cricket Australia former head of communications Timothy Whittaker has denied the allegations. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Nicki Connolly

Ms Lee told the court the man disclosed he felt he had been “groomed” by Mr Whittaker through mentoring, support and job opportunities before an alleged incident in a hotel room in January 2016.

She said he told her the pair had been drinking socially before Mr Whittaker invited him back to the room where he was allegedly “inappropriately touched”.

Cricket Australia referred the allegation to police who were already investigating another matter, the court was told.

Earlier, the court was told a colleague had filed a complaint in March 2019 alleging he woke up in Mr Whittaker’s bed after a country and western-themed end-of-season party.

He told colleagues Mr Whittaker was allegedly touching his penis and rolled over to feign being asleep when the alleged victim began to stir.

Then-general manager of people and culture at Cricket Australia, Raj Tapper, said the man claimed Mr Whittaker had “plied” him with alcoholic drinks at an after-party following the event.

The court heard he was passed out on Mr Whittaker’s couch when the last of the group left about 5am.

Former colleagues Jane Livesey, Justin Larkin and Emily Jackson told the court they woke up to missed calls and voicemails from the alleged victim at 5.30 and 6am.

Each said the messages stated “something really f--ked up had happened at Tim’s”.

“He sounded very nervous, very scared not knowing what to do,” Mr Larkin said of the conversation.

“He told me Tim had (allegedly) sexually assaulted him … I was pretty shocked.”

Mr Whittaker (left) invited colleagues back to his apartment after a staff party. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Nicki Connolly

Both alleged victims gave evidence earlier this week in a closed court.

Detective Sergeant Ben Bolton told the court that police had been contacted by Cricket Australia’s integrity team in July 2021 “identifying others that may need to be investigated”.

Mr Whittaker’s barrister, Dermott Dann KC, flagged he “may” file a no-case submission on Friday, arguing the prosecution's case does not support a guilty finding and the case should be dismissed.

The hearing, before magistrate Timothy Gattuso, continues.