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Rugby Union Player Api Ratuniyarawa Pleads Guilty to Sexual Assaults

Rugby player Api Ratuniyarawa has admitted to a series of sexual assaults committed days before he was due to play for the Barbarians in Cardiff last month.

Appearing before Cardiff crown court, the 37-year-old Fiji international pleaded guilty to two charges of assault by penetration and one charge of sexual assault.

The offences were committed against three women and occurred between 31 October and 2 November this year, the court heard.

Ratuniyarawa, who played for the Premiership side London Irish until it filed for administration in June, was meant to appear for the Barbarians against Wales at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium on 4 November but was charged just hours before the game was due to begin.

The married father-of-four denied two further charges of sexual assault relating to one of the three women. He was released on conditional bail ahead of a sentencing hearing scheduled for 9 January. The offences to which Ratuniyarawa pleaded guilty can lead to custodial sentences.

Asking the judge to grant bail, Ruth Smith, defending, said Ratuniyarawa was the sole breadwinner of his family and that he had hoped the appearance for the Barbarians would help him to secure a new contract, but that he had since had to apply for benefits.

She added that he was “aware of the significance of his pleas and the type of sentence that flows from such pleas”.

The conditions of Ratuniyarawa’s bail include that he reside at his home address, abide by an overnight curfew, report daily to his local police station, surrender his passport, and not enter any licensed premises. He has also been placed on the sexual offenders’ register.

Setting the date for sentencing, Judge Lloyd-Clarke told Ratuniyarawa that he should not “read anything into” her decision to release him on bail.

Source: The Guardian