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David Goodwillie: Scottish club Raith Rovers say striker who was ruled to have been a rapist by a judge in a civil case will not be selected days after announcing signing



Raith announced the signing of Goodwillie on Monday, a decision which was criticized heavily by supporters, as well as by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

In a statement released on behalf of the board of the club on Thursday, chairman John Sim said: “We got it wrong.”

“This very unfortunate episode is something that we all bitterly regret, and we are now wholly committed to making things right. I can therefore confirm that, following a meeting of the Raith Rovers board, the player will not be selected by Raith Rovers and we will enter into discussions with the player regarding his contractual position.”

In 2017, Goodwillie was ruled by a civil court judge to have raped a woman along with a former teammate, David Robertson. Goodwillie had been with Clyde and other teams since the 2011 incident.

“I firstly want to apologize wholeheartedly to our fans, sponsors, players and the wider Raith Rovers community for the anguish and anger caused over the past few days,” Sim said in the statement.

“In reaching our original decision, we focused far too much on football matters and not enough on what this decision would mean for our club and the community as a whole.

“Over the past couple of days, we listened carefully to the fans who have got in touch and I’m very grateful for their honesty. As chairman, as a board and as a management team, we have all learned a hard but valuable lesson.

“We share a desire to do what is best for our club and will be doing everything in our power to regain the trust and confidence of the Raith Rovers family.”

Ex-Scotland international Goodwillie and Robertson, who has since retired, were ordered to pay ยฃ100,000 ($135,000) in damages and ruled to be rapists in a civil court case in Scotland in 2017.

Denise Clair, who previously waived her right to anonymity, sued Goodwillie and Robertson civilly. Goodwillie was charged with rape, but several months later, prosecutors announced they would not pursue the case. Robertson was never criminally charged but gave statements to prosecutors as a witness.

The Scottish justice system deemed there was insufficient evidence to bring the case to court and the charges against Goodwillie were dropped, though the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority determined Clair had been raped and awarded her $14,868.

Clair alleged she was raped at a flat in Armadale, in West Lothian, after a night out in Bathgate in January 2011. Both men admitted in court that they had sexual intercourse with the woman, but that it was consensual.

But the presiding judge in the civil case — Lord Armstrong — was highly critical of the two players’ evidence and determined that the players took advantage of her when she was vulnerable after an excessive intake of alcohol.

“Because her cognitive functioning and decision-making processes were so impaired, (she) was incapable of giving meaningful consent, and that they each raped her,” he wrote.

Goodwillie said at the time he was devastated by the judge’s opinion.

“I have spent the last six years and every penny I have fighting the allegations against me … Over two days in the witness box, I spoke honestly and truthfully,” he said, in a statement.

“I am struggling to understand why the judge has discounted my evidence …”

It was the first civil rape case of its kind in Scotland. An appeal by the pair was dismissed later in the year.

In response to Goodwillie’s signing, Tyler Rattray, captain of Raith Rovers’ ladies’ team, announced her intention to quit the club. The women’s team also sought permission to separate itself from the club.

Crime writer Val McDermid, who is one of Raith Rovers’ most famous fans, said she would be canceling her shirt sponsorship of the club, which plays in the second tier of Scottish football.

As well as the shirt sponsorship, McDermid has a stand named after her at Raith’s Stark’s Park stadium.

McDermid released a statement following the news Goodwillie would not play for the club, saying she welcomes “this (unsigned) statement from Raith Rovers.”

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“It’s a victory of sorts for the hundreds of people who MAKE the club who were appalled at the board’s original decision and who were not afraid to speak out. But it’s just the first step on a long road back.

“The same people who made the decision are still in charge. Those who love and value the club are still on the outside; they need to be on the inside, shaping the future for the community.”

Raith fan Martin Glass set up a fundraising page after the Goodwillie signing designed to allow fans to donate towards Rape Crisis Scotland Helpline. At the time of this writing, it has raised approximately $16,500 (ยฃ12,000).

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