Tennis

Hewitt responds to allegations

2012-12-10 09:48
Bob Hewitt (File)
Cape Town - In response to the allegations by a Ms Suellen Sheehan, former South African tennis great, Bob Hewitt, along with his family, has issued a statement to the public.

In the last 16 months, after the story broke; I have had many conversations with the family of Suellen Sheehan, and have been informed of many interesting facts. I also hired a private detective to dig into her past, which has also revealed some very interesting details, and may shed a bit of light on this person. 

Firstly, I deny vehemently all allegations made by Suellen Sheehan, the only relationship that we ever had was a professional one. 

She accuses me of starting to molest her from the age of nine years through 12 years. Well the fact is, my family and I were not even living in South Africa, but in Winter Park, Colorado, USA, until the end of 1979. My daughter completed her first year of schooling there and we returned to South Africa at the end of 1979 for her to start the New Year at school at St Andrews School for Girls in Bedfordview.

According Sheehan’s ID, she was born in June 1969, that would make her nine years old when I was playing full-time on the professional men’s tennis circuit and in the July of 1978, I won Wimbledon doubles with Frew McMillan. The following year, when she was 10-years-old, Greer Stevens and I won the mixed doubles at Wimbledon. While playing from 1978 through to the end of 1980, I was coaching and playing some doubles tournaments with Heinz Guenthardt also full-time on the circuit. I retired from the circuit at the end of 1980. I have Wimbledon trophies to prove this.

She was a girl that was brought into my tennis squad in 1981, which would've made her 12-years-old, by my assistant coach at the time. In an article in the Bedfordview Edenvale News dated January 16, 2012, she claims that I “spotted her at a tennis tournament at the age of nine years and offered to coach her”. Impossible.

The squad consisted of about 20 boys and girls and she was never coached by myself one-on-one at the squad or at another tennis establishment, especially my private home. Her coaching was done by my assistant coach. I always coached the squad at old Johannians in Linksfield.

In December of 1981, myself, my assistant coach, his fiancé and my wife, took a group of 20 kids, which included four girls, of which Sheehan was one of them, to play the biggest junior tennis tournament in the USA, called the Orange Bowl. If rape had taken place, then why did she accompany the group and continue to play in my squad for several years after, with no parental watch?

When this story broke back in August  2011, she was interview by the Saturday Star, and she clearly states, that “no intercourse took place and that she was about 10-years-old.“

In the second article with the Saturday Star, she says "no sex took place" and then in another article in the YOU magazine in December 2011, she claimed she “must have been about 12 when Bob first had sex with me”.

In an article in the Bedfordview Edenvale news, she claimed “she trained at his Bedfordview home, with private lessons at the age of 14, and he had sex with her”.

Again, I never coached her privately or in a squad one-on-one.

In an IOL SAPA article dated November 16, 2012, Sheehan, who publically accused Hewitt of raping her as a nine-year-old, said "she was liberated by the Hall of Fames decision”. There are many articles in papers and online, where her stories have changed drastically, but there are too many to go into.

In a SABC TV news broadcast on November 26, 2012, her charge of rape that was laid at a police station in December 2011 against me, has now changed to sexual assault. Again, this makes no sense.

I have made contact with family of Suellen's and her parents have stated to me and to the press, that the first they ever heard about this was in the papers when the story broke. They have also said to me on several occasions that "they do not believe one word and they know that I NEVER touched their daughter”. They also said that Sheehan over the tennis years, never complained to them about me. Her parents have a protection order against her and also moved to the coast to get away from her. Her parents also informed me that they have had her thrown into jail and they had to call the police to come to their home, before moving, after a heated argument. The parents firmly believe that Sheehan has used me to discredit them in a big way. All of the above information has been said either telephonically between my wife and Mr and Mrs Sheehan or myself, of via email or sms.

We have also found out that she, through a private detective, has bad debt judgments against her, from both Woolworths and Truworths.  There are also 36 cases, that she has laid against other people, for example rape, assault, theft, intimidation, fraud, crimen injuria, and I am in possesion of all these case numbers and details.

There are also six cases that have been laid against her: two for malicious damage to property in 2000 and 2001; two for contempt of court in 2006; one for intimidation in 2007 and another one for giving a police officer a false name in 2001. Again I have all the names and police case numbers for these. 

These are all the facts, and again I vehemently deny ever doing anything with Sheehan of a sexual nature or anything of the kind.
 
I do have all the relevant police file case numbers in my possesion, as well as emails and sms’s from family with their contact numbers.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists and other similar articles published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

Read more on:    bob hewitt  |  tennis
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