Penrith Panthers player Tyrone May arrives at the Parramatta Local Court in Sydney. (AAP Image/Peter Rae)
Penrith Panthers player Tyrone May arrives at the Parramatta Local Court in Sydney. (AAP Image/Peter Rae)

Panthers’ May sentenced over sex tape scandal

PENRITH Panthers player Tyrone May has been spared jail by a magistrate who lectured him about consent in the age of the "Me Too" era after he filmed four sex tapes without the consent of the women involved.

The 23-year-old NRL player was on Friday given a three-year good behaviour bond in the Parramatta Local Court over the 2018 videos.

As part of the bond, he will perform 300 hours of community service.

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May's playing future will be decided when the NRL meet with the Panthers next week

"It's reprehensible," magistrate Robyn Denes said.

"Not the conduct but Mr May's conduct in filming it without consent."

Penrith Panthers NRL player Tyrone May arrives at the Parramatta Local Court in Sydney, Friday, January 31, 2020. (AAP Image/Peter Rae) NO ARCHIVING
Penrith Panthers NRL player Tyrone May arrives at the Parramatta Local Court in Sydney, Friday, January 31, 2020. (AAP Image/Peter Rae) NO ARCHIVING

Denes recalled a video which went viral at the start of the Me Too movement, using tea as an analogy for consent.

"It makes it really simple - if you don't know they are going to consent, why would you assume they do consent?" Denes said.

"Do you just assume people want milk and sugar with their tea? No, you ask."

May pleaded guilty to four counts of intentionally recording an intimate image without consent on November 22, the day the matter was due to go to hearing.

Penrith NRL coach Ivan Cleary and star player and close friend Nathan Cleary were seated in the back of the court during the sentence.

May's defence barrister Richard Pontello SC told Magistrate Denes May had already engaged in rehabilitating himself by taking part in activities with Penrith's community arm, "Panthers on the Prowl".

Judge Denes reacted with shock at the program's name and strongly suggested they rename it.

Tyrone May has continued training with the Panthers. Picture: Brett Costello
Tyrone May has continued training with the Panthers. Picture: Brett Costello

The sentence essentially ends the NRL's no-fault stand-down period for May, with the focus now turning to whether the Panthers playmaker will face further sanction from the governing body or be allowed to resume his rugby league career.

He has not played first grade since Penrith's semi-final loss to Cronulla on September 14, 2018. May's contract expires at the end of this year.

May was already forced to sit out the entire 2019 NRL season under the game's policy aimed at avoiding the potentially negative coverage that came with players continuing to play rugby league while facing charges.

Panthers teammate and close friend Nathan Cleary said this week he believed May's best chance of making up for his mistakes is by returning to the NRL.

Cleary's view came as May prepared to return to court for sentencing over a string of charges related to the sex tape scandal that rocked the Panthers 11 months ago.

Marking the first of several high-profile court cases involving NRL players over the next month, May pleaded guilty to four charges of intentionally recording an intimate image without consent.

The Panthers are well stocked in the halves, despite veteran James Maloney's departure to French club Catalans.

Young gun Jarome Luai has been touted as the five-eighth partner for halfback Cleary, while Dubbo product Matt Burton has also been talked about as an option in the No.6 jersey.

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