County player Clarke admits to shame over rape | Sunday Observer

County player Clarke admits to shame over rape

29 May, 2022
Joe Clarke
Joe Clarke

Nottinghamshire batter Joe Clarke says he feels “embarrassment and shame” over his involvement in a vulgar WhatsApp group with rapist Alex Hepburn.

Clarke was not charged but was named during the rape trial of his former Worcestershire team-mate in 2019. The sexist messages led to Clarke, 25, being made unavailable for selection by England and charged with bringing the game into disrepute.

“It does not reflect the person I am now,” Clarke told the Telegraph.

“I have done a lot of reflecting. It is embarrassment and shame that I was involved in what was a terrible thing.

“I’m happy I have the chance now and say how sorry I am for the involvement in all of it.”

Clarke was speaking in his first major interview since being named during the Hepburn trial.

Last month, England’s new director of men’s cricket Rob Key suggested he would be open to Clarke being picked. Hepburn was jailed for five years after being found guilty of assaulting a sleeping woman after she had consensual sex with Clarke.

Hepburn, Clarke and then Worcestershire team-mate Tom Kohler-Cadmore swapped messages on WhatsApp discussing a game of sexual conquests. The judge said the WhatsApp messages “demeaned women” and “trivialised rape”.

“It upsets me seeing it [the WhatsApp game] now so I completely understand why people get upset looking at it,” Clarke said. “It is terrible to look at. It was completely wrong.”

He also said he had “let down” the victim, who suffered post-traumatic stress disorder.

“She was ultimately in my company and relied on me for her safety and I did not provide that,” Clarke said. “I feel like I let her down and I hope that she has found happiness that she deserves now and has managed to move on.” (BBC Sport)