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

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

Disclaimer: This story contains details about grooming boys.

John Patrick “Jack” Coogan, a physical education teacher who abused school children in Geelong in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, and was convicted of a series of child sex offenses in the mid-1990s , took his victims to the inner sanctum of the Western Oval, now home to the AFL’s Western Bulldogs.

The men 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 preparation process.

They were not abused on club premises, but Coogan knew the boys were football enthusiasts and used the travels to manipulate them. Both were around 12 at the time and were introduced to Bulldogs players and other staff, and received autographs.

A black and white head shot of John Coogan
John Coogan abused school children in Geelong in the 60s, 70s and 80s.(Provided)

Both men say Coogan clearly played a voluntary role at Footscray Football Club, most likely as a coach, as Coogan was on good terms with the players and gave them massages.

“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 saw a 1993 police statement in which the other man detailed Coogan’s horrific and ongoing abuse in the 1970s.

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

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