Survivor of sexual abuse at St Joseph’s College Geelong awarded $1m+ settlement

Another survivor of childhood sexual abuse at St Joseph’s College Geelong has been awarded upwards of $1m in a milestone settlement, with a witness coming forward crucial to the case.

The survivor was just 12 years old and in year 7 when he was targeted by teacher John Coogan in 1977.

Coogan, who is now deceased, abused children throughout the 1960s and 1970s during his time as a teacher at St Joseph’s College.

He was later imprisoned for five years for 17 counts of indecent assault on boys aged 10 to 15 occurring between 1962 and 1983.

Principal lawyer at Arnold Thomas and Becker Jodie Harris, who represented the abuse survivor, said this settlement marked the first time the law firm had been able to find a witness to confirm complaints had been made against Coogan at the time.

“This is the first time we have been able to locate a living witness who was able to confirm she made a direct complaint to the school about Coogan’s conduct,” she said.

“She (the witness) met with the principal of the school in 1976 and (said) that she had expressed concerns about Coogan’s sexual interest in boys.”

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