Thorbjorn Olesen cleared of sexual assault charge after incident on flight after WGC event

·3-min read

Thorbjorn Olesen was cleared of all charges Wednesday related to an incident on a 2019 flight after the World Golf Championships-FedEx. St. Jude Invitational, according to The Associated Press.

The Danish golfer was acquitted at a London court of sexual assault, common assault and being drunk on an airplane. The jury deliberated for less than an hour in the case.

Olesen was No. 62 in the Official World Golf Rankings at the time of his arrest before dropping to No. 432. He has said he “paid a very heavy price for my mistake.”

“I want to thank everyone who has supported me during the past two years and the European Tour for reinstating me in 2020,” Olesen said, via The Associated Press. “I have learned from my mistake and will make sure I never put myself in a similar position again. I now want to focus on my golf, free from distractions, and to repay the trust of everyone who has kept faith in me throughout this very difficult time.”

Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark
Thorbjorn Olesen was arrested after several incidents on a flight to London after the 2019 World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational in Nashville. (Jose Manuel Alvarez/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

Olesen arrested after 2019 WGC-FedEx. St. Jude Invitational

Olesen was arrested in July 2019 after an incident on a British Airways flight returning to Europe after the WGC-FedEx St. June Invitational. Olesen, sitting in first class on the flight headed for Heathrow Airport in London, allegedly started arguing with passengers and the flight crew and running around “like a little boy.” He also reportedly urinated in the aisle of the plane, and allegedly sexually assaulted a sleeping woman on the flight.

Olesen was arrested by police in London when the plane landed. He was then suspended by the European Tour — now known as the DP World Tour — until his trial, though that suspension was lifted last July after his trial was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Olesen said at the trial that he hadn’t slept well for weeks, and then took multiple sleeping pills before the flight. After having a glass of Champagne upon boarding the plane in Nashville, he said he doesn’t remember the rest of the flight.

"I do not remember anything that happened after takeoff, but I am embarrassed and ashamed by the account of my actions that was outlined during the trial," he said, via The Associated Press.

"My behavior was completely out of character and nothing like this has ever happened to me before or since. My actions resulted from taking powerful sleeping pills I had not taken before and my sole intent was to ensure I managed to sleep on a transatlantic flight after an exhausting playing schedule."

Olesen has won five times on the European Tour, most recently at the 2018 Italian Open. He has yet to win on the PGA Tour, and hasn’t played in a Tour event since the WGC-FedEx St. Jude in 2019.

Olesen finished T8 at the AVIV Dubai Championship last month.

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