Broadcaster Ray Hadley has revealed the identity of a harness racing official accused of sexually assaulting two women.
Albion Park Harness Racing Club CEO Scott Steele has been arraigned on two counts of sexual assault and one count of rape.
Police allege he sexually assaulted two women in separate incidents in April 2015 and December 2016.
Mr Steele was the managing director of Brisbane Racing Club at the time of the allegations, several years before taking up his current role at Albion Park Harness Racing Club in 2020.
Ray has been unable to name Mr Steele so far due to Queensland laws which state that identities cannot be released until the defendant has been committed for trial.
“My information is [Racing Queensland] I went to Albion Park and said, ‘You gotta push this guy away,’ Ray said.
“They said, ‘No, we can’t afford it because we would have to re-employ someone else. You pay for the new person to come in and we might take them out.”
Albion Park vice-chairman Greg Mitchell told Ray in a statement that the club’s board did not believe Mr Steele should be made redundant, saying employees were ‘comfortable’ with the continued employment of Mr. Steele (read the full statement below).
“To suggest that these women are lucky enough to be working with the alleged rapist, I mean, what else are they going to say?” Ray continued.
Listen to Ray Hadley’s commentary in full
Read the full statement provided by Albion Park Racing Club Vice Chairman Greg Mitchell below:
“The board believes that Albion Park Harness Racing Club should not fire Mr Steele.
“The allegations refer to incidents that allegedly took place at previous workplaces in 2015 and 2016.
“As soon as we heard of the charges, the council launched an independent external investigation by an experienced lawyer. This lawyer interviewed Mr. Steele and 19 of our 20 employees.
“The president and trustees had no say in the appointment of the investigator and had no say in the findings. presented in its final form – it was completely independent.
“The President has recused himself from any discussion and decision-making regarding this matter.
“In this way, the board ensured that there were no conflicting interests and that we have, and have been seen to have, adhered to best practice in these difficult situations.
“His investigation included the following findings:
- Employees are comfortable with Mr. Steele’s continued employment. This will be influenced by the club’s level of support for Mr Steele, and Mr Steele continues to protest his innocence.
- There have been no significant changes in workplace attitudes towards Mr Steele since employees were made aware of the nature of the charges.
- Mr. Steele is considered a good CEO and is liked and respected by the employees surveyed. They praised his work and his contribution to the club and the racing industry.
“His recommendations included the following:
- In terms of job retention, the Club has taken reasonable steps to ensure employees feel comfortable and safe working with Mr. Steele. It would be desirable to continue the current practice which prohibits Mr. Steele from having one-on-one meetings with women or discussions behind closed doors.
- A policy on sexual harassment should be implemented and training provided. All new employees must be introduced to the Club’s policy on sexual harassment, bullying and harassment and discrimination. Proof of each employee’s participation in the onboarding process must be recorded.
- A complaints process should be in place, with employees encouraged to speak either to a member of the board of directors or to a designated person with whom employees feel comfortable. If not, the club should consider an employee assistance program.
- As the hearing on the charges against Mr. Steele will take many months, the state of mind of the employees should be checked regularly.
- The Club must take all reasonable steps to ensure that it exercises its duty of care to all of its employees.
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