HAWTHORN has confirmed the AFL Integrity Unit is involved in the investigation into allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct on social media by key forward Jonathon Patton.
Patton, 27, has been absent from the Hawks' pre-season training this week after being stood down from all duties by the club.
The decision came after multiple women made public allegations of lewd behaviour by the 2011 No.1 draft pick.
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Hawthorn CEO Justin Reeves addressed the matter in a letter to members posted on the club's website, in which he confirmed the AFL's direct involvement in the investigation.
"This is a difficult time for all involved and it is important our club ensures that Jonathon receives the support he requires during this period," Reeves said.
"We take this matter very seriously and our Integrity Committee is working in conjunction with the AFL's Integrity Unit to undertake the investigation into these complaints within the framework of the AFL's Respect and Responsibility Policy.
"We anticipate this process will take some time and we will provide a further update when more information is available."
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The probe into Patton's behaviour was launched last weekend in response to one woman's allegations.
More women have since come forward with similar claims.
Patton has since deleted his social media accounts, and now faces an uncertain future.
"The complaints made are of behaviour that does not reflect the values of our club," Reeves said.
"We are a club that is proud of our family values and we strive to exemplify them across every element of our club.
"Hawthorn actively promotes and advocates for both respect and equality for all and we demand this standard from all involved with the club."
Patton has endured a horror run on the injury front since being drafted by Greater Western Sydney with pick No.1 in the 2011 NAB AFL Draft.
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The 27-year-old, who has undergone three knee reconstructions, played 89 games over eight injury-ravaged seasons at the Giants, before being traded to Hawthorn at the end of 2019 for a future fourth-round selection.
Patton played six games for the Hawks in a 2020 season where he suffered a hamstring injury and then later a torn plantaris tendon in his leg.