I’ve been keeping a bit of an eye on what has happened in the media in the last week surrounding the St Kilda Football Club and the photo scandal, which involves a 17 year old female and lewd photos she posted on Facebook of Nick Riewoldt, Nick Dal Santo and Zac Dawson.
Lets get the obvious stuff out of the road to start with, someone is lying and it certainly appears to be the 17 year old. She claims that she took the photos herself in April, however the three footballers have confirmed that they were taken last year while overseas. That leads to the next question, how did the female come into possession of the photos & it appears they were stolen. At a press conference earlier in the week, Nick Riewoldt stated that he’d requested that the photos be deleted immediately when they were taken, which he was told they were & that he is extremely disappointed with Sam Gilbert for not doing so. Sam Gilbert has subsequently made a statement saying that he is very disappointed in what has happened and his role in it and now appreciates the seriousness of the matter.
Next up is the actions of the 17 year old in question, who it appears has complete disregard for the law and due process. It would seem as though she feels she is above the law and her actions are some how justified. To give you an idea of her head space, she was dismissive of the heavy threats from the lawyers representing the St Kilda Football Club, which could have seen her paying back damages for the next 15 years if found guilty. When ordered to appear in court, she said she wasn’t going to turn up because she was on the Gold Coast and the court hearing was in Melbourne. While the media have a gag order on them from showing her face, printing or announcing her name – she has thrown that whole notion of protection out the window by posting the photos on her Facebook page (clearly identified) and subsequently web cam videos where, I believe she states what her name was in one form or another.
Keep in mind, the female is 17 years old – so in less than a year she’ll have the full legal right to do anything she likes – she’ll be driving, smoking, drinking & voting among other things. My question is, while I appreciate where the law sits on the matter, when does someone move from child, to teenager and into adulthood? Is the strictest view of the law an appropriate measure? Should you be allowed to do, virtually anything you want as a minor with no repercussions?
In this instance, it would seem as though the female has thrown the gauntlet down, virtually begging the St Kilda Football Club and their lawyers to take her to task on the matter. Especially when ordered by the Federal Court not to distribute the photos, she mocked the courts directions and stated she was going to distribute other photos as she had plenty of others. It was clear early on that she was just looking for more and more attention, highlighted ever so clearly when she commented that she’d only take the next steps if there was a media circus at Melbourne Airport on her arrival.
Friday it appears she has sought legal representation and they’ve directed her to comply with the courts directions, stating that all photos and copies would be destroyed. Nice for her to get away with not even a smack on the wrist, the photos of the footballers are out in the wild now – never to be withdrawn and after causing an immeasurable amount of damage to some of the AFL’s flagship players.
The comment in the media that aggravated me more than anything was from Victoria’s Child Safety Commissioner Bernie Geary, in which he raised concerns about the treatment of the female, that she was being unfairly vilified by the public/media and that everyone should remember that the teenager is still a child. At 17 years of age, I don’t think she is a child anymore and in many respects the law already sees it that way. However, she’ll no doubt escape this with little to no consequence to herself and that annoys me because it sends completely the wrong signal.