Ex-Cricket Australia executive Timothy Whittaker ‘maintains innocence’ despite sexual assault verdict

Prosecutors have called for a former Cricket Australia executive to be jailed over his “predatory” groping of two colleagues.

Timothy Joseph Whittaker, 38, returned to the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Monday after he was found guilty on two counts of intentional sexual touching without consent last Friday.

Prosecutor Sharn-Adelle Coombs told the court Whittaker should receive a term of imprisonment for the offending and called on Magistrate Timothy Gattuso to register him as a sex offender.

“These were two incidents of opportunistic and somewhat predatory behaviour,” she said.

“Two adult males that were completely vulnerable … They were entitled to feel safe in the home of a trusted friend or colleague.

“A clear message needs to be sent to the community that this type of offending won’t be tolerated.”

Whittaker was charged after two men came forward, detailing to police similar experiences of waking up in his bed after a night of heavy drinking to find the former head of communications touching their penises in 2016 and 2019.

In a victim impact statement read to the court, one man said the sexual assault had led to years of mental health problems.

“I tried to convince myself it didn’t (happen), it was easier to do this than face what happened,” he said.

“But the reality kept eating away on me.”

Whittaker’s barrister, Dermot Dann KC, argued Mr Gattuso should impose a community corrections order opposed to imprisonment.

“I can’t assist you with the circumstances of this offending because Mr Whittaker maintains his innocence,” he said.

“We understand your honour’s finding of the touching and we don’t argue with that, at this point.”

He told the court the incidents were restricted to a period in Whittaker’s life where he was suffering from mental health problems and personal loss.

“He’s worked really hard at his rehabilitation despite setbacks such as losing his employment,” Mr Dann said.

He said Mr Whittaker had developed a problem with alcohol while employed at Cricket Australia, due to the high-stress nature of the job and a “fairly disturbing workplace environment of alcohol use”.

Earlier, the court heard the first man complained to Cricket Australia’s human resources department in March 2019 following an end of season staff party.

He was among a group of employees that continued back to Mr Whittaker’s Abbotsford apartment for a nightcap, where he fell asleep on Whittaker’s couch.

Around 5.30am he woke up in Mr Whittaker’s bed with his pants removed, feeling his penis being “jerked”.

The second victim came forward in 2021, saying he woke in Whittaker’s bed in January 2016 following a night of heavy drinking.

Whittaker had his hands down the man’s pants and was “rubbing” his penis.

In his testimony, he told the court he had initially given Whittaker the “benefit of the doubt” and believed he was asleep, but reconsidered after hearing rumours of similar events.

A Cricket Australia spokesman said the organisation was “appalled” by the offending.

“We will continue to support the victims as we have done since these offences came to our attention,” the spokesman said.

“We commend their bravery in coming forward to report these crimes and hope the verdict today provides them with a sense of vindication and closure.”

Mr Gattuso will sentence Whittaker on Friday.

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