Former teen footballer sues Geelong Football Club over alleged rape

A former Geelong junior footballer is suing the club for failing in its duty of care after he was allegedly raped by a group of players in the early 1980s when he was a teenager.

In a writ lodged with the Supreme Court this week, the former player alleges he was assaulted by three older Geelong players who resided in the same house, which was owned by the club.

A former under-19s footballer is suing Geelong Football Club after he was allegedly raped by a group of older players in the 1980s.Credit: Getty Images

Documents seen by The Age state the alleged victim was between 15 and 16 years old and was recruited by Geelong Football Club to play for its under 19s team.

After joining the team, he moved into Aberdeen House, a property owned by the football club in Newtown that housed country footy recruits.

Arnold Thomas & Becker lawyer Angela Di Carluccio, who is representing the man, said the former footy recruit was cornered in the showers and raped by a trio of older players.

“His love for football – which he used to be an avid supporter as well as a player – diminished after what happened. He very much lost his love for the game after the abuse occurred,” she said.

“My client has come forward to see what justice could be done. He’s shown a lot of courage and strength.”

The alleged victim, who is an Indigenous elder now aged in his 50s, does not wish to be identified.

He claims that the football club failed in its duty of care because it did not have adequate oversight of minors in the house, did not separate adults and children within the property and had no procedures in place to deal with reports of sexual abuse.

“[Geelong Football Club] placed senior players in a position where they had authority, power, trust, control and the ability to achieve intimacy over the Plaintiff, which afforded them the opportunity to abuse [him],” the writ states.

The club is aware that the legal proceedings have commenced.

The court documents describe the teenager as “vulnerable” at the time of the assault due to his age and the fact that he was away from home and family.

In the writ, he states he has suffered “psychiatric injury” as a result of the abuse, causing a loss of earnings and ongoing medical expenses.

He is seeking damages and has asked for court action to be heard in front of a judge and jury.

“My client says the culture of the club and the culture within those houses at the time was quite scary for a 15-16 year old,” Di Carluccio said.

“He’s a well-respected elder … he’s very kind and just wants to advocate for his community and be there for his people.

“[He’s looking for] an acknowledgment of what happened and some sort of outcome so that he can put it behind him and move on, and leave that part of what happened to him in the past.”

The Geelong Football Club said it was unable to comment.

If you or anyone you know needs support, you can contact the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732), Lifeline 131 114, or Beyond Blue 1300 224 636.

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