The NRL is unlikely to place a ban on Jarryd Hayne from the sport until the matter is resolved despite accusations the Parramatta Eels fullback sexually assaulted a woman during his time with the San Francisco 49ers.
A civil suit was filed against Hayne in Santa Clara County on Tuesday, however NRL.com has been told the governing body won’t prohibit him from returning to the Eels in the new year.
The Mercury News reported the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office reviewed the criminal case and rejected it for insufficient evidence on October 25, 2016.
In a statement sent to NRL.com by Micha Star Liberty, the lead attorney for the plaintiff, the civil suit against Hayne includes claims of sexual battery, gender violence, infliction of emotional distress, and negligence.
“A local Santa Clara County woman filed a suit today stemming from a December 2015 rape by professional Rugby player and former NFL player Jarryd Hayne. On the night of the assault, the victim, who was a virgin at the time, was unable to consent to sexual intercourse,” according to the statement.
“The lawsuit arising out of a rape of a woman unable to consent to sexual penetration, attached to this release, includes claims of sexual battery, gender violence, infliction of emotional distress, and negligence.”
According to attorney John Clune, who is also acting for the plaintiff: "Mr Hayne brought our client back to his home, approached her in the dark, turned her around as to not face him and told her ‘no kissing’. He then had non-consensual sexual intercourse with her, causing her significant physical pain."
A spokesman for the NRL said the Integrity Unit would continue to monitor the civil case involving Jarryd Hayne.
“We note that the police in the United States did not proceed with any criminal proceedings but we will review the information available and continue to monitor the civil case,” a spokesman said.
The Mercury News also reported that a case-management conference over the civil claim has been scheduled for April 10 at 3pm (US time). According to California state law, Hayne may not be expected to attend that event.
The Eels released a statement on Tuesday afternoon, with club chairman Max Donnelly saying the club had been unaware of the claim.
''The club has been made aware of serious allegations regarding Jarryd Hayne during his time with the San Francisco 49ers. We were unaware of these allegations until they were made public today,'' the statement said.
''As with any legal matter, it is important that we follow due process and ensure that we review all relevant information available, including giving Jarryd the opportunity to respond.
''The club will continue to monitor the situation and when appropriate we will provide an update to members and media.''
Hayne’s adviser Wayne Beavis has not responded to NRL.com requests for comment but The Daily Telegraph is reporting Beavis was also unaware of the claims when contacted on Wednesday.
The 49ers provided a brief statement on the issue.
“This is the first we have heard of this matter and the alarming allegation regarding a former employee,” a San Francisco 49ers spokesman told NRL.com.