South Africa 12.2.2015 02:47 pm

Hewitt admits to rape comments

Former tennis player Bob Hewitt. Picture: Refilwe Modise

Former tennis player Bob Hewitt. Picture: Refilwe Modise

Australian-born tennis champion Bob Hewitt admitted on Thursday to making inappropriate comments about rape to his students.

“Unfortunately, I did,” Hewitt told the High Court in Johannesburg, sitting in Palm Ridge, where he has pleaded not guilty to two charges of rape and one of indecent assault.

“I jokingly said if rape was inevitable, I’d say just lie back and enjoy it,” he said.

The 75-year-old Hewitt said he made this comment to some boys to whom he gave tennis lessons in the 1980s and 1990s. The comments referred to tennis tactics, he said.

However, on Wednesday, one of the three women who have accused Hewitt of rape and sexual assault said he directed the comments at her.

The woman, who may not be named, said: “At a private lesson, he was quite jovial… we were discussing tactics, and he said to me ‘rape is enjoyable in all cases and if I rape you, you need to lie down and enjoy it’,” she told the court on Wednesday.

In his evidence-in-chief, Hewitt denied saying this to her.

The court has also heard that Hewitt asked at least one of his alleged victims about their menstrual cycle.

On Thursday, Hewitt admitted to doing so.

“If I noticed a young female not playing well, I’d say tell me if it’s the wrong time of the month so I don’t push you too hard.”

The woman claimed that Hewitt rubbed himself against her back in an inappropriate manner during their private tennis lessons.

Another alleged victim Suellen Sheehan has testified that Hewitt raped her in 1982 in his car before tennis practice. She was 12-years-old.

Theresa Tolken told the court Hewitt touched her inappropriately and forced her to perform oral sex on him 34 years ago, when she was 12.

Hewitt rubbished the oral sex claims.

“If I had stopped on the side of the road [as she testified], it wouldn’t have taken long for police or a tow-truck to stop and there I am enjoying myself. It doesn’t make sense,” Hewitt said.

 

The Citizen Trail Run 2018

today in print