The young woman who alleges she was raped by Jarryd Hayne while she was intoxicated was a devout Christian who was saving her virginity for marriage when the alleged incident occurred in 2015.
Known only by the pseudonym “Ms V”, the Santa Clara, California, woman, in her mid-20s became acquainted with the rugby league star through mutual friends, while he was living in San Jose and playing NFL for the San Francisco 49ers in December 2015.
Two years on, Ms V has filed a civil lawsuit in the US against Hayne for allegedly raping her, an experience her lawyer says she will struggle with “for the rest of her life”.
In an interview with Fairfax Media, lawyer Micha Star Liberty said Ms V’s faith was front and centre in the consideration of general damages, which aim to quantify the “pain and suffering” experienced.
“The fact is that this woman, because of her religious and moral beliefs, saved herself [for marriage] into her mid-20s and had the decision taken from her. That will have a huge impact on her and her psyche,” she said.
“I think it’s something she is going to struggle with for the rest of her life.”
Hayne is also a Christian, linked to the Pentecostal Hillsong church. He often speaks openly about his faith, including recently when speaking of his current travels on a religious holiday in Israel.
Hayne has vehemently denied the sexual assault allegations through his lawyers in Sydney, who reiterated that the Santa Clara District Attorney chose not to proceed with the matter due to insufficient evidence after it was reported to police in 2016.
Sean Webby, spokesman for the Santa Clara District Attorney’s office, said there were four key questions considered by prosecutors in determining whether a person should be charged.
“Was there a crime? Do we know who did it? Can we prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt at a jury trial, and is charging the right thing to do?” he said.
“A prosecutor thoroughly reviews all reports and records concerning the case, including witness statements. We declined to file charges due to insufficient evidence.”
Ms Liberty said her analysis of evidence was similar to that of the DA, with the facts giving her confidence to take on the case in the civil court, where the burden of proof is lower.
She added that the simple act of “sharing what happened” would make the legal undertaking worthwhile for Ms V.
“Part of the process for a victim of a sexual assault is to go through the catharsis of stepping forward ??? and trying to hold the person accountable,” she said.
“So any sort of result where we get a verdict in her favour and she has the ability to obtain counselling and process what happened, that’s a good day at trial.”
On Saturday Fairfax Media revealed that Hayne was the third sportsman associated with the San Francisco 49ers to be accused of sexually assaulting a woman who had been taken home from San Jose nightclub The Willow Den.
The eight-year-old bar is a popular haunt for the 49ers, according to its owner, Hans Heller.
Mr Heller spoke lovingly of the bar’s true “grimy dive bar” identity, what with the record album covers and dollar bills lining the walls, tangled fairy lights and wacky figurines hanging above the bar.
The Willow Den is the same establishment where former 49ers defensive end Ray McDonald met and shared drinks with a young woman, who accused him of raping her.
Mr Heller said he remembered that when the McDonald scandal hit the news “the police came to my house to interview me”, adding, “They never did that with Jarryd Hayne.”
He said the McDonald case, in 2014, did not receive nearly the same media attention in the US as Hayne has received in the past week in .
It is understood Ms V is not aware of the n media’s interest in the story.
Lawyers for Ms V and Hayne will meet at a preliminary case management meeting in April next year, where both parties will agree on scheduling.
But before that can take place, Hayne must be formally served with the court papers, which has not been possible while he remains in Israel.
If required, Ms Liberty said legal representatives would travel to to take Hayne’s deposition in the new year.