Notorious pedophile John Coogan infiltrated Footscray Football Club in the 1970s

A notorious pedophile who abused boys in the Geelong area for decades brought some of his victims to Footscray Football Club in the late 1970s, say two men who survived the abuse.

Warning: This story contains details about boy grooming.

John Patrick “Jack” Coogan, a gym teacher who molested Geelong schoolboys in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s and was convicted of a series of child sex offenses in the mid-1990s, brought his victims to the Western Oval’s sanctum, now home of the AFL’s Western Bulldogs.

The men have told ABC Sport that trips to the Western Oval, which took place on club practice nights between 1976 and 1978, were part of Coogan’s grooming process.

They were not abused on club grounds, but Coogan knew the boys were football enthusiasts and used the trips to manipulate them. Both aged between 10 and 12 at the time, they were introduced to and autographed by Bulldogs players and other staff.

A black and white headshot of John Coogan
John Coogan molested Geelong schoolboys in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.(delivered)

Both men say that Coogan clearly held a volunteer role at Footscray Football Club, most likely as a coach because Coogan was friends with the players and massaged them.

“He had access to all areas of Footscray,” one of the men told ABC Sport.

“He used to massage all the players and seemed to have a thigh fetish. He massaged with oil or deep heat.

ABC Sport has seen a 1993 police statement in which the other man described Coogan’s horrific and ongoing abuse in the 1970s.

The statement gives details of an incident of abuse at Coogan’s office at St Joseph’s College in Geelong, after which the boy was allegedly taken to the Western Oval by Coogan and another man in a car owned by then-Footscray coach Bill Goggin.

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