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Rabbitohs' Ben Te'o bemoans hit to reputation

JAMES MACSMITH
Last updated 20:44 19/07/2013
Ben Te'o
Getty Images
CLEARED: Ben Te'o has been a stand out for South Sydney this year but has been forced to deal with a negative bout of publicity.

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Ben Te'o says his reputation and image have suffered significantly despite police finding the State of Origin star had no case to answer over allegations of assault brought against him. 

In a media statement issued on Friday, Auckland-born Te'o said he has suffered both personally and professionally over claims brought against him by Katie Lewis that he allegedly hit her and fractured her eye socket in a late-night incident in the Brisbane suburb of Ashgrove in April. 

On Thursday Queensland Police dropped their investigation into the matter, saying no further action would be taken. 

The NRL's integrity unit also concluded that no action should be taken against Te'o who was not stood down from club or Origin football by the NRL over the claims and played in all three Origin games for the Maroons in their eighth straight interstate series win. 

Te'o repeated his assertion that he had "acted appropriately" on the night in question but said his version of events had been proven. 

"The allegations made against me by Kate Lewis and reported by various media outlets have caused me considerable distress, both on a personal and professional level," Te'o said in the statement. 

"Over the past three months, it has been very difficult to watch my name and character publicly criticised in response to allegations that I knew to be false. The allegations and the many reports issued by media outlets have placed a question mark over my reputation and my public image. 

"From the outset, I have denied any wrongdoing and have been up front, open and honest with the Queensland Police Service, the NRL's integrity unit and my club. I consider that I have given my full cooperation to these authorities during the investigation process which has now run its course. 

"To the extent that any uncertainty remains, I again state that I acted appropriately on the evening in question and did not strike Ms Lewis as alleged. I believe that the outcome of the various investigations has validated my version of the events of that evening." 

Lewis repeated her claims on Thursday, after being informed police would not charge Te'o over the alleged incident. 

"I know that he hit me ... I know ... (and) he knows that he did," Lewis told the Nine Network. 

"I would love to have him in front of me and to ask him the question and for him to look me in the eye. 

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"I got punched in the eye. But apparently there are stories out there that I actually fell on something." 

Te'o said he was considering legal action over the claims. "While I would prefer to put this matter behind me, I am seeking legal advice as to my rights in the circumstances with a view to taking action against those who have sought to harm my reputation and public image without foundation," he said. 

- AAP

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