AFL player Elijah Taylor has pleaded guilty to assaulting ex-girlfriend Lekahni Pearce in Perth earlier this month.
The 19-year-old Sydney Swans star was stood down by his club two weeks ago after he was charged with aggravated assault occasioning bodily harm following an incident in the West Australian capital.
Taylor was arrested on September 13 and pleaded guilty to the charge of aggravated assault in Perth Magistrates Court today.
Pearce made serious allegations against Taylor on social media more than a week he was arrested by WA Police.
The footy star is due to reappear in court for sentencing on December 2.
Speaking after Taylor was stood down, Swans CEO Tom Harley said: “We are extremely disappointed to have one of our players in this position.
“As a result of the serious nature of these charges, coupled with Elijah’s failure to abide by club directives on a number of occasions this year, we have made the decision to stand him down from all club commitments immediately. We will review this position as the situation unfolds.
“This is a difficult situation and one we will work with relevant experts and authorities to navigate.
“I would like to reiterate that our club has very strong values, which include respect, tolerance and a condemnation of violence, especially against women. We expect everyone at our club to uphold these values without compromise.”
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan added at the time: “Our view is clear and unequivocal — violence against women is never OK in any circumstance — ever.
“Our absolute commitment is to respect women and to never accept or condone in any way, shape or form violence against women.”
The Sydney Swans released a statement on Wednesday afternoon in the wake of Taylor pleading guilty.
“These were very serious charges and something we never want to see in the community, much less have one of our players involved in,” Sydney general manager of football Charlie Gardiner said in a statement.
“At the time of making the decision to stand Elijah down we said we would review the situation as it unfolded, and that is what we intend to do, in consultation with the AFL, the AFL Players’ Association and Elijah’s management.
“I would like to reiterate our club’s very strong position that violence against women, in any form, is never acceptable and we strongly condemn it.”
Pearce said she was shaken up after Taylor was arrested and charged, telling Channel 7 in the wake of the incident and said she was still trying to process what had happened.
Taylor was already in hot water before the incident with Pearce, banned for the rest of the season for breaching the AFL’s strict biosecurity protocols. Pearce visited Taylor in the Swans’ quarantine accommodation in Perth, which was not permitted in the AFL’s return to play regulations.
Pearce was alleged to have crossed a golf course and jumped multiple fences in order to enter the Swans’ biosecurity bubble. She spoke with Channel 7 soon after, confirming the true events surrounding the meet up, claiming there was no scaling of any fences.
“No security, I didn’t see a security guard,” she said.
“I just walked through, went to his room. That’s how easy it was. I didn’t jump any fences.”
The Swans were given a $50,000 fine, and Taylor was stood down from the club for the remainder of the season.
Taylor was taken with pick No. 36 at last year’s draft and debuted in Round 7 this year, playing four games for the Swans.