Harley immediately notified the AFL’s head of integrity and said the league’s policy was to recuse the club from any further involvement in the probe to avoid perceptions of a conflict of interest.
“Obviously the welfare of both Elijah and Lekahni is paramount,” he said.
“We’re dealing with two young people here. I won’t go into specific details of that, but absolutely there is support on both sides as we work through what’s a very complex situation.
“They are extremely serious allegations. Our process is to notify the AFL’s integrity department, and then it’s the AFL integrity department’s responsibility as part of the respect and responsibility policy to follow through with the relevant authorities.
“It’s a set of circumstances that need to be handled by the experts and that’s what’s happening in this case.
“I am told the AFL have been in touch with the police about this matter.”
The alleged incident occurred in Sydney – before Taylor and his then partner were sprung breaking the AFL’s COVID-19 protocols at the Joondalup Resort in Perth where the club was supposed to be serving 14 days of quarantine.
Shortly afterwards, the couple ended their relationship.
NSW Police have not received any formal complaint against Taylor at this stage, a spokesperson said.
Harley would not say whether Taylor denied the allegations and could not offer any timelines as to when the situation would be resolved, but said the club was in daily contact with the 19-year-old, who remains in Perth with his family while the Swans prepare to face Carlton on Tuesday night at Metricon Stadium.
“It would be fair and reasonable to acknowledge Elijah has had a lot to work through in the last couple of weeks,” Harley said. “We take the welfare of our players extremely seriously and we’re in constant conversations with him.”
The Swans were aware Taylor came from a challenging family background when they selected him with pick 36 at last year’s national draft.
After he was suspended for the rest of the season for his protocol breach, coach John Longmire said Taylor lacked maturity in comparison to other players brought into the AFL system at the same age.
Taylor was handed guernsey number 37, making him the first Swans player to wear it since the retirement of dual Brownlow medallist and Indigenous icon Adam Goodes, and played four games this year before he was banned.
Pearce has been contacted for comment.
Vince is a sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.