NRL star guilty of assaulting woman at bar
NRL star Scott Bolton has been cleared of grabbing a woman's genitals at a bar in Sydney's east but pleaded guilty to assaulting her.
The Cowboys forward escaped conviction for grabbing the 49-year-old woman's upper thigh after a boozy team dinner at a Bondi bar last May.
The 31-year-old veteran was facing a hearing for indecent assault at Waverley Local Court on Monday with up to four witnesses ready to give evidence.
But prosecutors dropped that charge after the North Queensland prop pleaded guilty to the alternative of common assault.
Magistrate Greg Grogin sentenced Bolton, who has been married for two years to his wife Michelle, to a 12-month conditional release order.
"Mr Bolton is not placed on a pedestal by the court, he is expected to behave as any other member of the public behaves," the magistrate said.
Agreed facts state that between 10.30pm and 10.35pm on Saturday May 5, the drunk Bolton slumped over towards a woman sitting alone on a sofa at Bondi Beach Public Bar.
As the victim stood up and tried to leave, Bolton then touched the victim's upper thigh.
"These types of behaviours, whether they be by footballers, men or members of the community are unacceptable," Senior Sergeant Jamie Palmer said.
The Townsville man had gone out to celebrate with teammates following the club's 26-20 win over the Penrith Panthers in Bathurst.
The team was staying in Sydney ahead of a game against the Wests Tigers.
Several players continued to drink at the popular nightspot and by 10.50pm the female patron made a complaint. But by the time police arrived the Cowboys had moved on.
Bolton was arrested at a nearby apartment the next morning and released on bail.
"I would ask that you respect the privacy of my wife and my family who are supporting me through this difficult time," the emotional athlete said a few days later.
The 187cm, 112kg player has missed just a handful of games since helping guide the Cowboys to the 2015 premiership.
Bolton was not stood down by the club but the NRL Integrity Unit was informed of the charges.