Ex-NRL player Nathan Sologinkin grabbed a woman on her genitals and was convicted of sexual  assault but will keep his club role and honour.
Ex-NRL player Nathan Sologinkin grabbed a woman on her genitals and was convicted of sexual assault but will keep his club role and honour.

Honour stands for president convicted of grabbing genitals

The Albany Creek Crushers Junior Rugby League Football Club awarded a life membership to ex-NRL player Nathan Sologinkin just days before he was convicted of sexually assaulting a female casino employee

Sologinkin, the club's president, was presented the life membership on October 13 by State LNP MP for Everton, and ex-NRL referee Tim Mander.

Three days later Sologinkin, 41, was found guilty of groping the woman while celebrating Queensland's 2017 State of Origin series win.

He denied touching the woman on the vagina on the outside of her clothing in the Treasury Casino in Brisbane on July 13, 2017.

On October 16 Brisbane District Court Judge Jennifer Rosengren sentenced Sologinkin to four months in prison, wholly suspended for 12 months, after a jury found him guilty.

Crushers vice-president Roy Burfoot said the club only became aware of the matter during the trial from media coverage, and after the life membership presentation.

Mr Burfoot said the life membership had been awarded by the club committee because of the amount of "time and effort and the loyalty" Sologinkin had given to the club.

"There wouldn't have been the decision, obviously, if they had been aware," he said.

It is not known when Sologinkin was charged but he appeared in Brisbane Magistrates Court on the matter on May 1, 2018. The case was adjourned.

Mr Burfoot said there had been no discussion yet about revoking the life membership.

"I've personally known the guy for several years and it's certainly that far out of character. I was shocked," he said.

"We were all totally shocked. Shocked when we heard the trial was on, shocked when we heard the result.

"He still claims he's innocent. He never ever in his wildest dreams thought he would ever be convicted."

Nathan Sologinkin photographed at the South Pine Sports Complex in 2017. Photo: AAP/John Gass
Nathan Sologinkin photographed at the South Pine Sports Complex in 2017. Photo: AAP/John Gass

 

 

A spokesman for Blue Card Services (BCS) Queensland said it could not comment on an individual's blue card status.

But the spokesman said that where a blue card applicant or holder had a change in their criminal history (being charged or convicted) they were required to notify their employer and their employer must notify BCS.

"This triggers a reassessment of their eligibility to continue to hold a blue card," they said.

The spokesman said blue card applicants' and cardholders' police information was monitored daily by police and BCS was notified if they were charged with a relevant offence.

Former NRL player Nathan Sologinkin leaves the Brisbane District Court on October 16 after a jury found him guilty of sexual assault. Photo: AAP/Glenn Hunt.
Former NRL player Nathan Sologinkin leaves the Brisbane District Court on October 16 after a jury found him guilty of sexual assault. Photo: AAP/Glenn Hunt.

"This enables BCS to take action, such as suspending or cancelling a blue card, which then prohibits the individual from working with children," he said.

From July 1, 2019, a blue card holder charged with a serious offence such as sexual assault had their card automatically suspended.

Mr Burfoot said he was unaware of any changes to Sologinkin's blue card status prior to his conviction.

North-West News' attempts to contact Sologinkin directly failed, however Mr Burfoot said he had spoken to him.

He said Sologinkin had been advised by legal counsel not to comment as they had lodged an appeal.

On October 18, club secretary Dale Anderson emailed members, informing them that Sologinkin had decided to stand down as president and as coach of the 2020 under-15 team.

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