Cherie Howie is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

New details emerge in Chiefs' stripper scandal

A fuller picture has emerged of the stripper scandal involving the Chiefs in July. Photo / Michael Craig.
A fuller picture has emerged of the stripper scandal involving the Chiefs in July. Photo / Michael Craig.

A fuller picture has emerged of the Chiefs' stripper scandal, with the inquiry into the affair revealing it was a contract worker hired by the team who touched the entertainer "Scarlette" paid to dance for the side.

A top-level investigation instigated by New Zealand Rugby interviewed four independent witnesses - members of the public invited into the function by the Chiefs - who observed sections of the side's ill-fated Mad Monday celebrations in July at the Okoroire Hot Springs Hotel.

The Weekend Herald has seen part of the investigation's preliminary report based on the witness statements.

The report revealed:

* That it was a man associated with the team who touched the stripper, after the players paid an extra $100 for the stripper to perform for him. And according to the report, the man said the stripper laughed and hugged players after her performance, and hugged and kissed him on the cheek.

* The report said players called the contract worker into the function and negotiated the deal for Scarlette to dance for him.

* The report said the stripper asked the players for an extra $50 payment because the man had licked her, before agreeing to receive the original agreed amount.

* Independent witnesses said in the report they were "adamant" they did not see any players throw gravel or alcohol at the stripper, expose their private parts, lick or grope the stripper or chant for her to perform sex acts on them.

* The report outlined how Chiefs management initially told players they could not use their clubhouse for Mad Monday celebrations because of damage caused to property by players the previous year. Players were later told they could use the clubhouse for the first hour of the event.

The report contains graphic details of interactions between Scarlette and those present at the function, but the Weekend Herald has chosen not to outline them. The report said Scarlette's performance lasted 20-25 minutes.

The report also revealed that investigators had looked at CCTV footage from the bar, and that the Chiefs' bar tab for the three-four hours they were there was $450.

The section of the report obtained by the Weekend Herald had earlier been sent to independent witnesses by New Zealand Rugby's general counsel, Keith Binnie.

The witnesses were sent it by the sporting body to ensure the investigation team had accurately captured what they saw.

The investigation was launched after Scarlette alleged she had been inappropriately touched and licked, had alcohol and gravel thrown on her and was intimidated during the function.

The witness who gave the Weekend Herald the report - who declined to be named but stood by his version of events - said he did so because he felt New Zealand Rugby had allowed the stripper's claims to go unanswered.

"Every do-gooder has been on the bandwagon and blamed the Chiefs for something that didn't happen. I don't agree with the fact they hired a stripper and I also would have spoken up and said something if I saw them doing something to a woman they shouldn't have been doing. But during the show I saw, that just didn't happen."

Another witness - who was spoken to by the NZ Rugby investigation - said he wanted the "truth" to be heard over the Chiefs' Mad Monday incident.

Yesterday, one of the men was contacted by Binnie and asked if he had leaked the document.

Another person in possession of the document said he was contacted by a New Zealand Rugby official and asked if he was the source.

A statement issued by New Zealand Rugby last night said the document cited by the Weekend Herald was an "early draft" document provided in confidence to an independent witness who had been interviewed during the investigation in order to verify its accuracy.

"We have asked the Herald not to publish this document as the contents reflect confidential discussions with the witnesses," chief executive Steve Tew said. "The complainant also does not want the report in the public arena.

"Based on that, New Zealand Rugby will be making no further comment and will not be publishing the report."

Chiefs boss Andrew Flexman would not comment on the contents of the report.

But he said the 2015 incident which led to the players almost being banned from using the clubhouse involved damage to a field and a couch.

The team was "addressed over this" and paid the $2000 cost of the damage, Flexman said.

Scarlette's lawyer, Linda Clark, would not comment. Scarlette could not be reached for comment.

Police received no formal complaint from Scarlette and launched no formal investigation.

The NZ Rugby probe, headed by Binnie, found allegations made by the entertainer could not be substantiated. Binnie had trawled through three hours of video footage and everybody present at the party was interviewed.

- NZ Herald

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