ROME (AP) – Police in North Wales confirmed Monday they are investigating the naming on Twitter of Welsh soccer player Ched Evans' rape victim, vowing to deal "robustly" with any crime that has been committed.
Ched Evans, 23, was sentenced to five years in jail Friday after being convicted of raping a 19-year-old woman in a hotel room near the resort town Rhyl. The court found the victim was too drunk to consent to having sex with Evans.
Hundreds of abusive Twitter messages have since been posted about the victim, calling for Evans to be freed.
Many have named the woman despite the fact she is guaranteed lifetime anonymity under the law.
"We find this to be profoundly disturbing and are determined to seek out those responsible," said DCI Steve Williams, of North Wales police.
"I would advise people who post such status and tweets to consider the implications of their action and those who add comments to appreciate that they may be condoning such behavior and contributing to the continued trauma upon this young woman."
Sheffield United Football Club has launched its own investigation, which focuses on comments made by their reserve team player Connor Brown, who is being investigated
Brown, 19, sparked a fury by posting a series of insults about the victim on the social networking site. They have since been taken down.
Rape support centers and support organizations for victims of sexual assault have condemned the online abuse.
Holly Dustin of End Violence Against Women said she was deeply disturbed that someone who had gone through the trauma of giving evidence in a trial and had been promised anonymity should be exposed in social media.
She said: "She has also received really nasty and vile abuse and we are urging to the Home Secretary to review the protection of anonymity as well as the harassment many women experience online."
Evans, who played previously for Manchester City , is a Wales international and has played for Sheffield since 2009.