Hogan's story

In the late 1970s, Hogan was an enthusiastic member of his local football club in a Melbourne suburb. He and his friend Will were both 10 and in the under-11s team, coached by Martin Prevaldo. Prevaldo was friendly and interested in the boys on the team. Sometimes he’d take a few of them on outings or invite them over to his place.

One weekend he invited Will and Hogan to his home for a sleepover. Hogan got a good night’s sleep on the sofa in Prevaldo’s lounge room. Will slept in Prevaldo’s bedroom. The next day Prevaldo took them on an outing. There were lollies and other treats but Will didn’t seem to have a good time.

‘I noticed Will was a bit funny. He wasn’t himself.’

When Hogan asked Will what was wrong, Prevaldo answered for him, replying that everything was fine.

The following weekend, the boys were invited back for another sleepover. Again, Will went to sleep in Prevaldo’s bedroom, while Hogan had the sofa.

‘Late at night, it was dark – and he attacked me … I was asleep and I woke up to him.’ Prevaldo put his hand over Hogan’s mouth. Hogan couldn’t get free. Prevaldo sexually assaulted him.

‘This was someone that we trusted’, Hogan said.

When Prevaldo drove the boys home the next day he took a detour, past a nearby youth detention centre. ‘And he said, “If you tell anyone, that’s where you’ll end up”.’

The threat worked. For a long time, Hogan didn’t tell anyone what had happened. Eventually he told his older brother, but when his brother wanted to tell their parents Hogan made him promise not to. He and Will nearly talked about it, but not quite. ‘We tried to once and he was – I think he was a lot like me, he was terrified.’

Hogan didn’t go back to Prevaldo’s place. He was invited, but found excuses to say no. He continued to play footy but moved up an age group, to another team with another coach. He saw Prevaldo around, but avoided him.

Hogan was in jail when he spoke to the Commissioner. He said that Prevaldo’s assault ruined his life. As well as the trauma associated with the assault itself, he felt he’d been damaged by keeping it a secret. He had turned to drugs as a way to self-medicate and that had led eventually to a series of criminal offences resulting in substantial prison sentences. Much of his life had been spent in jail.

Hogan had disclosed his abuse to psychiatrists from whom he’d received long-term treatment in prison. He has never reported Prevaldo to police. ‘I don’t know. I would but I don’t think they like me very much.’ He had not considered seeking compensation.

He would like to see more severe sentences for people who commit sex offences against children. Prevaldo’s betrayal affects him deeply still.

‘I’ve coached kids, at cricket. It’s supposed to be about fun, it’s supposed to be about teaching them. It’s a game.'

‘I don’t want to see it happen to any other child.’

Hogan said he had finally disclosed to his mother, about a year ago, just before she passed away. She had asked him, he said. And so he told her.

‘She said that she knew something was wrong.’

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