Sex tape scandal: Woman had no idea he was a Bronco
The woman who released a sordid sex tape of star Broncos player Kotoni Staggs has sensationally claimed she had no idea he was a professional football player when she saw his photo on Instagram and arranged to meet him for sex.
McKenzie Lorraine Robinson, 18, today pleaded guilty to releasing the intimate video that was shared on the internet in August, placing the star player's career under scrutiny before he was eventually cleared by the NRL Integrity Unit of any wrongdoing.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Henri Rantala today told the Brisbane Magistrates Court that on June 15, the pair agreed to meet for sex at Robinson's apartment after she came across his profile on Instagram and sent him a message.
During the encounter, Robinson asked if she could film Staggs and used her phone to record him having sex with her from a "first person perspective".
Sgt Ranata said Staggs consented on the basis the video stay between the two of them.
In the weeks after the one night stand, Robinson sent the football player dozens of messages including a snippet of the intimate video and in early August, the x-rated clip began circulating online.
Sgt Rantala said the video received domestic and international attention and caused Staggs "personal embarrassment" and "professional repercussions affecting his public brand and potential sponsorship opportunities".
"The appropriate sentence should reflect ... the personal embarrassment and economic ramifications it's had on the victim in the circumstances," he said.
The prosecutor submitted a heavy fine would be appropriate given her age and lack of criminal history.
Defence lawyer Jason Jacobson said Robinson had only moved to Queensland from New South Wales to "escape a difficult situation" 10 days before the pair met for sex.
He said on June 15, Robinson saw a photo of Staggs on his Instagram account and messaged him telling him he was "cute" and the pair exchanged dozens of messages that day, finally agreeing to meet at her home that night for consensual sex.
Robinson claims she had no idea that Staggs was a professional football player, despite his Instagram account featuring dozens of images of him wearing his Broncos uniform and him telling her in a message he had "training" the morning after they met.
He said in the days after their sexual encounter, she sent him more messages inviting him to catch up but when she realised "nothing further was going to occur", she felt "no ill will".
"She does appreciate if the shoe was on the other foot how she'd feel," Mr Jacobson said.
He said Robinson had sent the video to one person she thought she could trust who then further distributed the clip.
He said allegations of the distribution being "revenge porn" or intending to hurt Staggs were untrue.
Mr Jacobson said Robinson copped criticism from people online after her identity was revealed.
"...many persons that think well of the victim took an immediate dislike to my client and, as they do, had their say so on social media and she copped some backlash because of that," he said.
The court heard Robinson works as a customer service officer and is completing her Year 11 and 12 equivalency and hoped to return to NSW and study psychology and social work.
"She has learnt a harsh lesson in that these things are not to be distributed at all and of course you think you can trust one person with a secret and they may let you down," he said.
Magistrate Tina Privatera fined Robinson $600 and did not record a conviction.
In sentencing, Ms Privatera took into account that Robinson had no criminal history, was a young woman and had previously "suffered significantly" which prompted her move to Queensland.
Magistrate Privatera accepted there was "no evidence that you knew he was a professional footballer at the time you met up".
"You deny that it was your idea but you don't deny that you recorded it," she said of the video.
"The evidence is you sent this recording to one person only, a person much older than you and perhaps as much older as twice your age and someone who you had until this distribution by them trusted.
"The evidence before the court supports that this person to whom you sent the recording was the person who distributed it more widely."
She said Robinson had cooperated with police and apologised to Staggs through her lawyer.
"I'm satisfied that there is no evidence of intentional or spiteful behaviour on your part to cause the victim the damage this court accepts has been caused by the distribution of the recording," she said.
"The victim I accept has suffered personal and professional embarrassment."
"I do hope Ms Robinson that this is a lesson to you and all other people involved in this kind of behaviour on social media that it is highly destructive," the magistrate said.
"This recording is derogatory of more than just the victim. Do you understand what I'm saying?"
Robinson replied: "Yes your honour."
Originally published as Broncos sex tape: Teen's guilty plea after video shared online