Key Points:

A former Crusaders player today saw the price he has paid for a clumsy drunken assault on a woman at a social function - $12,500 and most of his rugby career.

The lawyer representing former No 8 Jake Paringatai said the incident had certainly cost his client the chance to represent New Zealand.

The 28-year-old father-of-one has had to move overseas to pursue a career that once looked promising.

Paringatai's name suppression lapsed at his sentencing by Judge Raoul Neave in Christchurch District Court today when Paringatai did not ask for it to be continued, the Christchurch Court News website reported.

Instead, he can now expect a great deal of attention with his name made public at the end of a case the media have been following under suppression orders for nearly two years.

During that time, the media were not even allowed to describe him as a professional sportsman.

"The publicity will be much greater in your case and the damage to your reputation, if not irreparable, will be significant," Judge Neave said.

"The vultures are already circling over the carcass as I speak."

Paringatai pleaded guilty to indecent assault a month ago, after the charge was reduced from sexual violation.

Paringatai, who is now living in Australia, grabbed the bottom of a woman he did not know at a social function in Christchurch in May 2007.

The 22-year-old woman felt a finger penetrate her vagina through two layers of clothing and Judge Neave described it as "humiliating and devastating ordeal".

Her victim impact statement was read in court by crown prosecutor Brent Stanaway.

She said she felt nauseous and upset, and incredibly angry.

She could not understand why it had happened. She did not know Paringatai and had never spoken to him. She had done nothing to invite his attention.

As a result of the indecent assault, she had lost weight, and self-confidence at a time she was job-hunting, and still had intimacy problems.

In negotiations before the sentencing, Paringatai had agreed to make a voluntary emotional harm reparation payment of $10,000 to the woman.

Judge Neave said he wanted to make it quite clear this was a way of showing his remorse and because of his concern for her.

It was not a matter of making the problem go away by waving his chequebook.

Defence counsel Jonathan Eaton said it turned out that a drunken, impulsive act that lasted a couple of seconds had caused harm and had lasting consequences for all those involved.

It had brought shame for Paringatai and his family, teammates, coaches, and the sport which had occupied him fulltime since he was 19 years-old.

He had written letters of apology, and Mr Eaton expressed those sentiments in court.

Paringatai had unquestionably permanently lost the opportunity to represent New Zealand at rugby, Mr Eaton said.

He had been forced to ply his trade overseas - he has been playing in Ireland and in Japan - and there were serious question-marks over whether his career could now survive his guilty plea and conviction.

Judge Neave referred to Paringatai possibly believing at the time that his status as a professional rugby player gave him a greater entitlement to respect.

There was hypocrisy in the community being happy that these young men were paid large sums of money, and consistently telling them they were wonderful.

It was hardly surprising if Paringatai ended up with an inflated idea of his own importance.

He accepted that Paringatai had never intended his actions to be as intrusive as they were.

He noted that afterwards, Paringatai had been asked whether offence-related sexual issues needed to be considered.

He replied: "Nah. I was just being a meat-head."

Judge Neave fined Paringatai $2500 but stopped short of imposing a supervision sentence, because he now lived in Australia. The crown had sought a community work sentence.

The judge said he took into account Paringatai's remorse, the effect his actions had already had on his career, the reparation payment he had made voluntarily, and the publicity he could now expect.

- NZPA