Parramatta Eels superstar Jarryd Hayne has been accused of raping a woman while he was in the US playing for the San Francisco 49ers, US court documents reveal.
Civil lawsuit papers filed in the Santa Clara County court on Tuesday allege Hayne engaged in non-consensual sexual intercourse with a Santa Clara woman identified only as "Ms V" in December 2015.
The civil suit comes more than one year after the case was reviewed and rejected by the District Attorney's Office, which concluded there was not enough evidence to prove the crime of rape beyond reasonable doubt.
The action filed this week includes claims of sexual battery, gender violence, infliction of emotional distress and negligence.
It is understood Hayne was flying back to Israel when news broke of the allegations.
The league star travelled to Israel earlier this month on a religious holiday, in an effort to strengthen his Christian faith, but returned to Australia halfway through the trip to celebrate his daughter's first birthday.
Ramy Qutami from Madison Marcus Law Firm issued a statement on behalf of Hayne, who "unequivocally and vehemently" denied the claims.
"Mr Hayne and his management are aware of recent media speculation in relation to a civil complaint filed in the United States of America making certain allegations in relation to an event which allegedly occurred in 2015 whilst playing for the San Francisco 49ers," Mr Qutami said.
"Mr Hayne has not been served with any proceedings or formal complaint relating to the incident.
"Mr Hayne previously addressed a complaint made to the District Attorney's office in the County of Santa Clara, California in 2016 and the District Attorney did not proceed any further with the matter due to insufficient evidence to substantiate the allegations. Mr Hayne provided all reasonable assistance to the District Attorney with that investigation.
"Mr Hayne unequivocally and vehemently denies the allegations which are the subject of the civil complaint. Mr Hayne will not be making any further comment in relation to this matter."
According to court papers, Ms V was at a bar with friends in San Jose, California, after attending a football game between the 49ers and the Cincinnati Bengals in the afternoon, where she met with Hayne and his friends.
Later, "[Hayne] took the now heavily intoxicated plaintiff back to his home in San Jose via Uber".
The papers state Ms V has no recollection of how she entered Hayne's home, and only remembers "seeing a silhouette of a man with [Hayne's] build coming towards her".
"The man put his hands on her shoulders and flipped her around ... instructed 'no kissing' and shortly thereafter she felt extremely sharp pain in her vagina," the papers state.
According to the court documents, when Ms V woke the next day Hayne was not there, and she took his undergarment "in case there was a need for testing" if she decided to report it to the police.
A virgin at the time of the alleged rape, Ms V was fearful of speaking out for several months, before later seeking medical treatment for continued vaginal pain.
She then reported the alleged incident to police in 2016, however the investigation was ultimately dropped due to insufficient evidence.
Ms V's attorney, John Clune of Hutchinson Black and Cook, told Fairfax Media he respected the prosecutor's decision to drop the case, as "they are operating on a much higher burden of proof than we deal with on civil lawsuits".
Mr Clune added that while his client would have rather seen criminal prosecution, "the civil justice system is still a meaningful option for individuals to hold people accountable".
Ms V made the initial police report in May 2016, the same month in which Hayne announced his retirement from the NFL, on the fifteenth.
Fairfax Media is not suggesting his departure from the league was linked to the sexual assault allegations.
Another attorney for Ms V, Micha Star Liberty, told The Mercury News Hayne used Ms V's "level of intoxication...to deprive her of the ability to make a personal decision about whether or not she wanted to have sex."
The Mercury News also reported that a case management conference has been scheduled for April 10 next year.
Hayne made headlines in 2014 when he announced he was leaving the NRL, before signing with San Francisco the following year.
But the stint was short lived. Hayne announced his retirement from the NFL in May 2016 and made an unsuccessful attempt to join the Fiji rugby sevens team for last year's Rio Olympics.
Since returning to rugby league in Australia he has played for the Gold Coast Titans, but will return to his roots at the Parramatta Eels for the season in 2018.
Parramatta national rugby league chairman Max Donnelly said the club was unaware of the allegations until they were made public on Wednesday."As with any legal matter, it is important that we follow due process and ensure that we review all relevant information available, including giving Jarryd the opportunity to respond."