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

A black and white head shot of John Coogan

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

Key points:

  • Notorious Geelong-region paedophile John Coogan took victims to Footscray Football Club
  • Two abuse survivors told ABC Sport that Coogan took them to the club, where he was a volunteer masseur
  • Coogan is the third paedophile linked to the Bulldogs in the 1970s and 1980s

Warning: This story contains details of the grooming of boys.

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

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

They were not abused on the club’s premises but say Coogan knew the boys were football enthusiasts and used the trips to manipulate them. Both were approximately 12 years old at the time and were introduced to Bulldogs players and other staff, and given autographs.

A black and white head shot of John Coogan
John Coogan abused Geelong schoolboys in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s.(Supplied)

Both men say Coogan clearly held a volunteer role at Footscray Football Club, most likely as a trainer, because Coogan was on friendly terms with players and gave them massage treatment.

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

“He used to massage all the players and seemed to have a fetish for thighs. He would massage with oil or deep heat.

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

The statement includes details of one incident of abuse in 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 driven by then-Footscray coach Bill Goggin.

Author: Ivan Robinson