Chiro cleared of sex assault charges
A Sydney chiropractor has been cleared of sexually assaulting a young woman with his housemate following a party in the city's eastern suburbs.
Jesse Robert Thurlow pleaded not guilty to two charges of aggravated sexual assault in company, relating to an incident at his Kensington share house in April 2015.
But he was found guilty of one count of perverting the course of justice, relating to encouraging another former housemate, his cousin Kate Thurlow, to lie to police investigating the woman's claims.
During the judge-alone trial, prosecutors alleged a heavily intoxicated Mr Thurlow had digitally penetrated the woman and forced her mouth onto his co-accused's penis without her consent.
The 29-year-old denied the allegations, claiming the acts were consensual, and was on Friday found not guilty by Judge Helen Syme.
That verdict had been suppressed until Wednesday afternoon as his former housemate, was set to face a separate trial for the same sexual assault charges on Monday.
Those charges have now been dropped by prosecutors.
The District Court heard the woman had met the housemate on the dating app Tinder and agreed to come for drinks on April 15, 2015, at the Barker St unit he shared with Mr Thurlow and several others.
She performed consensual oral sex on the now 31-year-old, but claimed later in the night she was sexually assaulted by he and Mr Thurlow.
She did not report the incident for 15 months, sparking a police investigation.
At his arraignment, Mr Thurlow pleaded guilty to one charge of perverting the course of justice, relating to his friend Brendan Pearce who was charged with spinning a false version of events.
He denied, however, that he had tried to persuade his cousin to also lie to police in a meeting with her on April 20, 2017.
Judge Syme ruled that he had done so.
Mr Pearce was present at the home on the night of the incident and agreed to provide an alibi for his close mate Mr Thurlow.
In a police phone tap, Mr Pearce was heard promising he would: "Lie through my teeth if I have to."
In another recorded phone call, Mr Thurlow could be heard telling his housemate: "The three of us need to get together and assert a good story".
Mr Thurlow was once lauded by former Bachelor star, actor and fellow chiropractor Tim Robards, who posted a video on social media of him getting a massage with the Coogee man.
He will return to court to be sentenced for perverting the course of justice on November 27.
*For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.
Originally published as Chiro cleared of sex assault charges