Sri Lankan T20 World Cup player charged with rape in Sydney

SYDNEY (AP) — Sri Lankan cricketer Danushka Gunathilaka has been charged over the sexual assault of a woman after being arrested in his Sydney hotel early Sunday.

Police said detectives began an investigation on Saturday after receiving reports that a 29-year-old woman had been sexually assaulted at a Rose Bay home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs earlier in the week.

They alleged the woman met Gunathilaka, who was in Sydney for the Twenty20 World Cup, after communicating with him for several days on a dating app before the assault on Wednesday.

New South Wales police said the 31-year-old cricketer was charged with four counts of sexual intercourse without consent. He was refused bail to appear at Parramatta Bail Court via video link and is expected to face court on Monday.

State police Sex Crimes Squad commander Jayne Doherty said the woman took steps to ensure her safety, including communicating with the man for several days before meeting and going for a date in a public place.

“It was just unfortunate. It has nothing to do with meeting on a dating app or anything,” Doherty said.

Gunathilaka traveled to Australia with Sri Lanka’s T20 World Cup team but only played in the team’s first game, a qualifying-round loss against Namibia, before being ruled out of the competition with a hamstring tear.

In a statement Sunday, Sri Lanka Cricket said it had been notified of the charges and it would monitor the court proceedings closely.

“In consultation with the (International Cricket Council), (we) will expeditiously initiate a thorough inquiry into the matter and take stern action against the player if found guilty,” the statement said.

The left-handed batsman has played nearly 100 T20 and one-day internationals for Sri Lanka and eight test matches.

Sri Lanka lost its final group match to England on Saturday in the T20 World Cup and left for home on Sunday.


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