Nathan Sologinkin has been found guilty of sexual assault.
Nathan Sologinkin has been found guilty of sexual assault.

Ex-NRL player guilty of grope after Origin win

A FORMER NRL player has been found guilty of groping a female casino worker while celebrating Queensland winning the 2017 State of Origin decider.

Nathan Sologinkin, 41, denied touching the woman on the vagina on the outside of her clothing in the crowded Treasury Casino in Brisbane on July 13, 2017.

On Wednesday, however, a Brisbane District Court jury found him guilty of sexual assault.

The father of three played first-grade rugby league between 1997 and 2003, with stints at the South Queensland Crushers, CanberraRaiders, Canterbury Bulldogs and Melbourne Storm.

He had gone to the Origin decider with his brother-in-law and a cousin before joining hundreds of Maroons fans at the casino celebrations.

Footage played to the jury showed him pushing through the crowd and chatting animatedly to fellow Maroon fans as he made his way to the bar.

The Crown presented evidence that as he was walking past the woman in the crowd, in one motion he touched her from vagina to hip, during a 0.31-second window, before walking on.

The woman reported the alleged assault to casino staff, who then used CCTV footage and tracked down Sologinkin.

"Women are, of course, entitled to make a living and not expect to be sexually assaulted during the course of that employment," crown prosecutor Stephanie Gallagher said during sentencing submissions.

She was also subject to "distressing" cross-examination.

Sologinkin told the court he had three beers at the game and up to seven rum and cokes at the casino as he celebrated until about 1.45am.

His defence barrister claimed the woman had not initially considered it assault and apologised to Solongkin for the contact.

But the victim later changed details of the allegation to accuse Sologinkin of sliding his hand up her leg to touch her genitalia, the court was told.

The court heard Sologinkin's position as president of the Albany Creek Crushers junior league club in Brisbane was now in jeopardy.

Defence barrister Craig Eberhardt has called for Sologinkin to avoid a custodial sentence and instead receive a fine and good behaviour bond so he can continue his contributions to junior rugby league.

He will be sentenced later on Wednesday.

News Corp Australia


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