Accuser Withdraws AVO (Restraining Order) Against Top Aussie Coach -- November 13, 2003
SYDNEY, November 13. FORMER age group swimmer Emma Fuller unexpectedly dropped her application this morning for an interim Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) -- the equivalent of a Restraining Order in the U.S. -- against Greg Hodge, Australia's National High Performance Director, according to the Australian Associated Press.
Fuller, 20, was expected to provide specific details of her widely-publicized allegations that her former coach had stalked her when she applied for the interim AVO in Sydney's Sutherland Local Court. But the application was withdrawn without explanation after last-minute discussions between lawyers for both sides.
Fuller has accused Coach Hodge, 55, of "behaving inappropriately" towards her when she was a 12- and 13 year-old age grouper boarding at his home eight years ago. She also accused him of stalking her, telling Channel Nine's "A Current Affair" show that Hodge was "obsessed" with her and had, at least twice been observed around her place of work.
Fuller did not comment as she left the court, accompanied by several menacing bodyguards. Her lawyer, Terry Boyle, did not explain why his client had withdrawn her application for the interim order.
"The full hearing and all the evidence will be given in February (when Fuller will apply for a formal AVO), so unfortunately we'll all have to be patient until then," he told reporters outside the court.
Hodge, who is in charge of the Australian swim team's preparations for the Athens Olympics but is now -- by order of Australian Swimming, Inc. -- unable to have face-to-face interaction with any of the athletes in his charge, has strenuously denied the allegations. He was accompanied in court by his wife, Sue, and daughters Jodie and Katie, did not comment as he left court.
However, he initiated defamation of character proceedings against the Nine Network just days after it aired Fuller's claims. His lawyers will apply to expedite the defamation hearing in the NSW Supreme Court so Mr Hodge can concentrate on preparations for the Olympics.