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Albion footballer claims naked photos were ‘boy banter’
Albion footballer Anton Rodgers posed for semi-naked pictures with a young woman who appeared to be asleep, but said it was just “boy banter”.
The 20-year-old yesterday (January 29) admitted exposing himself and posing undressed with the 19-year-old who “appeared to be asleep” – but claimed he thought the young woman was awake and “giggling” along with him and his teammates when the first photos were taken.
Rodgers is on trial along with Brighton and Hove Albion players Lewis Dunk and George Barker, and former Seagull Steve Cook.
Giving evidence to the Old Bailey, Rodgers, who is the son of Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, admitted that when shaving foam was sprayed onto her she did not react and “appeared to be asleep”.
But Dunk claimed to have neither seen nor heard his teammates’ “stupid” antics despite being in the same hotel room at the Jurys Inn, because he was on the phone to a cheerleader.
Explaining his actions, Rodgers said he had exposed himself to copy Barker, who had been first to do it.
He said: “It was just a laugh. We understand now it was stupid. It was banter. It was just a bit of boy banter.
“There was nothing sexual about it. I was new at the time. It was just a case of trying to fit in and having a bit of a laugh.”
Under cross examination by Richard Barton for the prosecution, Rodgers admitted he had never mentioned before that he had exposed himself or that he had been responsible for taking at least four of the photos.
Mr Barton said: “What you did that evening was not only ‘silly boy banter’ but sexually assaulting a young unconscious woman.
“You knew you had exposed yourself but you didn’t mention that. You knew you took pictures but didn’t mention it.
“You have simply waited and waited to see what the evidence was against you to give your lying account.”
Dunk, 21, told the Old Bailey he did not know why the woman had gone back to the hotel with the players.
Dunk said he had not exposed himself, seen any photos or taken any.
Describing his teammates’ actions, he said: “It was stupid of them.”
Mr Barton said: “It was that stupidity on their part that has landed you here.
“It is impossible that you could have been awake in that room while the others were laughing and standing on the bed and for you not to realise what was going on.
“The reason you said you neither heard nor saw anything was that you joined in with them.”
Rodgers, Dunk, Barker and Cook all deny sexual assault and voyeurism.
The trial continues.
See all stories from the trial here: www.theargus.co.uk/news/indepth/bhatrial
The trial so far
Anton Rodgers, Lewis Dunk, George Barker and Steve Cook "deliberately humiliated” the 19-year-old woman for their own sexual gratification, the Old Bailey was told onTuesday, January 22.
The footballers – drunk on a night out celebrating the first match at American Express Community Stadium in July 2011– performed degrading sex acts on the unconscious teenager at the Jurys Inn hotel in Brighton and took photographs as trophies of their actions the court was told.
Richard Barton, prosecuting, described the players as a “group of arrogant young men”.
On Wednesday, January 23 the victim was branded a “prolific liar” who had sought relationships with footballers.
On Thursday, January 24 the jury heard from the victim's friends and boss. They heard that she had "feared what everyone would think of her" and that she looked like she had "been through something bad".
On Friday, January 25 Albion player Ben Sampayo said he had been woken up by his teammates “giggling” and showing him photos of themselves exposed on the night in question.
On Monday, January 28 George Barker said he only exposed himself after Anton Rodgers, “to make the boys laugh”.
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