06/01/2015 12:53 GMT | Updated 06/01/2015 13:59 GMT

Ched Evans 'Does Not Know What Rape Is,' Petitioner Says

Convicted rapist Ched Evans "does not know what rape is," it has been claimed, as Oldham Athletic are poised to announce whether they will sign the striker and allow his return to professional football.

Talks on Evans signing for the Latics finished for the day on Tuesday without a decision, after confusion over whether the club would go through with it and mounting anger from fans and sponsors.

The prospect prompted a petition, which became one of the fastest growing in the site's history, urging the club to not sign Evans.


The 26-year-old maintains his innocence, despite being convicted by a jury and having his subsequent appeal rejected.

On his release from prison halfway through a five-year sentence, he vowed to clear his name and lawyers have submitted his case to the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

He admits to having sex with the woman, who was 19 at the time, but claims it was consensual.

But the woman who opened the petition has said this position suggests Evans does not understand rape.

The woman, who uses the pseudonym Jean Hatchet, told BBC News: "He was convicted of rape and he still doesn't acknowledge it was rape. And that's the incredibly dangerous message."

She added: "Crucially he hasn't served his time, he's served half of his time, he's still on licence.

"He's also not, as far as I can see, reformed or rehabilitated - he doesn't acknowledge his crime. And that's the key thing here - he doesn't know what rape is."

ched evans

Ched Evans

Jean Hatchet also created the petition against Sheffield United, Evans' old club before he was jailed, from welcoming him back.

That petition ultimately earned more than 169,000 signatures.

In October last year, she told Sky News of "vicious" abuse she received over this petition.

She said: "It's been pretty brutal over the last couple of days, I think, because people were anticipating the release, and people blame me, bizarrely, for jeopardising the football club's (Sheffield United) chances in the league..

"One man called for me to be put in an acid bath. Someone else tweeted me: 'It's a shame you never fell into the path of Peter Sutcliffe', who of course is a serial killer and rapist."

The victim of the rape, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has had to change her name and move house to escape Evans' supporters harassment and abuse.

Journalists had expected Oldham to make an announcement on Tuesday, with Sky News' Kay Burley tweeting he "could be an OAFC player by the end of the day".

The Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) and the club had begun drawing up a joint statement on Tuesday but several issues remain to be settled and discussions will continue on Wednesday.

The League One club confirmed on Monday that it was considering offering Evans a deal.

Oldham is understood to be seeking further assurances from the PFA and other authorities.