Rod Owen

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Stabby McGee

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It wont be just Rod Owen suffering the poor guy,It has a massive flow on effect.My son was molested by his school teacher when he was 7 years old . This occurred during school hours.The guilt I live with is harrowing because I feel I should have picked up on what was going on. I failed to protect my son. It is along story but I will say this the education dept, are know better than the Catholic church with cover ups.When I thought soemthing was wrong I confronted the school 's principal and another senior teacher and I was told to "fook off and mind your own business"12 months later the sh*t hit the fan when it all come out with my son.The whole family was in turmoil with grief.His mum,his brothers also in Primary School it was the worst time of our lives.People say "why didnt you kill him" etc but its not how you think you have to try and keep your family together.
To see my son projectile vomiting at the mention of the school teachers name at the police sexual assault unit was an image that will live with me forever.
In some ways we were fortunate in that I had the whole family counselled on multiple occassions.The paedophile school teacher got 4 years jail.
My son is now 33 and married with a little tacker and doing really well.There is more to it but anyhow that was the gist of it.
Fooking sh*t it was, 26 years later it is still sh*t.
It happened to me when I was 12. No details coz I’d rather not, but the echos...

I always felt the lowest rung of the ladder so I put myself on stilts. Hung around with bad people and did bad things and got into huge trouble coz well it was better to give than receive.

My parents only found out a couple of years back when a good friend killed herself over something similar. I fell apart and for the first time told what happened.
Turned out that I should have talked about it before... but you feel so dirty. A million showers will never wash away the shame. It’s not the sex. Pffft I’m sure (sans kids) we’ve all done funky stuff. It’s the loss of self. That you have now lost the one thing you should have control over. That you are just meat. That’s not easy. That eats at you and I understand and have lived Rod’s life.

But like Rod I’ve found my happy place. Beautiful wife, two sorta non ******ed kids, nice house nice job sh*t football team.

Anyway anyone out there that has had that sh*t just yell... and keep yelling until someone listens. fu** the courts. Just find a friend so you can cry it out. Squeeze that ugly pimple, coz if you don’t you’ll do stupid things you’ll not understand looking for that moment before it happened.
 

gingernuts

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It happened to me when I was 12. No details coz I’d rather not, but the echos...

I always felt the lowest rung of the ladder so I put myself on stilts. Hung around with bad people and did bad things and got into huge trouble coz well it was better to give than receive.

My parents only found out a couple of years back when a good friend killed herself over something similar. I fell apart and for the first time told what happened.
Turned out that I should have talked about it before... but you feel so dirty. A million showers will never wash away the shame. It’s not the sex. Pffft I’m sure (sans kids) we’ve all done funky stuff. It’s the loss of self. That you have now lost the one thing you should have control over. That you are just meat. That’s not easy. That eats at you and I understand and have lived Rod’s life.

But like Rod I’ve found my happy place. Beautiful wife, two sorta non ******ed kids, nice house nice job sh*t football team.

Anyway anyone out there that has had that sh*t just yell... and keep yelling until someone listens. fu** the courts. Just find a friend so you can cry it out. Squeeze that ugly pimple, coz if you don’t you’ll do stupid things you’ll not understand looking for that moment before it happened.
Sorry to hear that Stabby. My perspective is as a parent, It is so tough, I am sure your parents would have been devastated when they found out.
I understand what you say about the courts. In my case we had this psychologist put her analysis forward in the courtroom , she said my wife and my boys had suffered extensive emotional trauma and that I had not suffered at all. It was a dagger through the heart. I could not believe this. My main concern however was my family and I had no choice but to move on. I get angry sometimes but what can you do after the event.

I hope you are doing well and make sure you have the family support. too hard on your own.
After I posted earlier I rang my son, he lives in the USA and the phone call reinforced the fact that he is doing well with his beautiful wife and son.
 

Stabby McGee

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Sorry to hear that Stabby. My perspective is as a parent, It is so tough, I am sure your parents would have been devastated when they found out.
I understand what you say about the courts. In my case we had this psychologist put her analysis forward in the courtroom , she said my wife and my boys had suffered extensive emotional trauma and that I had not suffered at all. It was a dagger through the heart. I could not believe this. My main concern however was my family and I had no choice but to move on. I get angry sometimes but what can you do after the event.

I hope you are doing well and make sure you have the family support. too hard on your own.
After I posted earlier I rang my son, he lives in the USA and the phone call reinforced the fact that he is doing well with his beautiful wife and son.
At some point you look in the mirror and decide if you are a man. I am. I wasn’t when I was being bad coz I was a little boy acting out... 25 and a gun but a little boy playing cowboys and Indians.

forgive but never forget.

it is what it is - and took me a long time get that...but I’m not defined by 40 minutes in a long fun and interesting life.
Your sons life is his and should never he defined by the actions of evil men
 

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Bunk Moreland

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I was replying to (or intended to) a post rattling off a list of stuff that was associated with one club and suggested that it was exclusive to them.

I disagree completely, and stated that the same sh*t happens everywhere - but if you win, no one cares.

Don't know what is weird about that?
Fair enough. I think everybody was referring to the instances of paedophilia. I ******* hate the trend that’s kind of emerged of conflating some of the most serious and monstrous of criminal behaviour - sexual assault - with “culture”.

It’s happening with the debate around what happened in Canberra. The whole discussion started with a rape. A rape. It’s now morphed (I think partly through design) into something about “culture” and “respect for women”.

Those issues are important too but let’s not lose sight of the fact that there’s a difference between a poor culture and “poor behaviour” and rape. The latter is not part of the former. It’s not to be excused as such or conflated. Rape is a monstrous, CRIMINAL act that doesn’t require a cultural reset, it requires the full wrath of the law and those who uphold it.

The culture of football might have been poor in the 80s, but child molestation isn’t a cultural thing. It’s a grave crime, committed by monsters who need to be locked up.
 

Brad Goodman

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Russell Jackson does it again.
The flow of his articles are a bit paint-by-numbers and I think deep down he is pleased that stories like this exist so he can write them.

Very good at his craft though and there’s no way any mainstream footy journos could produce the same sort of work on a topic like this.
 
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Bunk Moreland

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The flow of his articles are a bit paint-by-numbers and I think deep down he’s is pleased that stories like this exist so he can write them.

Very good at his craft though and there’s no way any mainstream footy journos could produce the same sort of work on a topic like this.
I think the biggest problem with this piece is it isn’t consumable. Far fewer people are going to stick with it because of its length. It should’ve been broken into parts over multiple days, more would’ve taken it in and it would’ve been just as powerful.
 

Rusty Brookes

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As someone that grew up in the 70s and 80s, I'm sort of bemused when people from my generation talk about how much better we had it as kids back then. Sure, there was some terrific stuff - great movies, music, toys (I still love all my Star Wars stuff for instance) but at the same time, paedophilia was far too common - it was easy for a rock spider to become a teacher, a priest, a sporting coach. We were all told to beware of strangers but it was the adults that we were meant to trust who were far more likely to be abusers. I reckon awareness is so much better now. Sheesh, I can remember spending time with my football coach who was a Christian brother- as far as I know he was fine but there is now way known I'd let son go to a Christian brothers residence with no parental supervision. Back then, no-one blinked an eye.

It's a horrible story and explains a lot about Rod Owen. I always had him pinned as a hopeless drunk who wasted his talent - little did I know the backstory.
 

Slartibartfast

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Part of what is so different between the 70s and now is trust.
Trust is diminished , this is a tragedy as lots of positives can come from living in a trusting society but the upside is people and organisations are more aware and are looking for perpetrators. It is a dual edged sword, you sacrifice to make gains

My childhood was ruined by a group of men at Puffing Billy , one of ther guys had convictions in 3 different decades but was continually allowed back in to reoffend.
A few years back Victorian government Ombudsman investigated the sexual abuse at puffing billy and other railway historical sites like Williamstown railway museum . The report was scathing and the Victorian government accepted some responsibility to the events .
After a lifetime of psych sessions I was cynical of any positive outcomes for me. I was invited by the minister to attend his office for a private apology.
Acknowledgment is powerful , I walked away feeling that I had been believed . They also said they would look favourably at any claim put forward to them for damages. They did that too, to my satisfaction and without any need for a civil trial.
A peace of mind has come to me which I never expected.

For Owen , maybe he is at this point where he is getting acknowledgment and not just lip service As he did previously from SFC. Maybe some good will come from this. Public discussion hurts public bodies into responding and acting appropriately .

The world is a different place , these type of failures will be far less common as they were back then but there is still the need to deal with those who have been victims of childhood sexual abuse and lets hope Rod Owen can get that from the School, AFL and StKilda FC
Families and friends suffer greatly as other posters have shared, it is not just one victim who it effects.

I mentioned this before but Rod, your a survivor. Well done brave man !!! I sincerely hope you and your loved ones get some understanding and recompense.
 

Blue1980

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Maybe. Probably. I was a little kid in the 80s so I wouldn't really know. But from the stories I've heard first hand, even if the culture was better - it still didn't make it good!
Also you have to take into account stories can get taller over time and there would be messed up stuff going on now at clubs we will probably not find about for years/decades.
 

btdg

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Holy crap does this article bury the lede somewhat.

5000 words of tragic, ‘what-if’ story about Rod Owen (and an interesting, nuanced and humanising read too).

Then the bombshell that St Kilda gave speed to a teenager to help him play in the face of depression...

Then suddenly the revelation that St Kilda’s little league team harboured a pedophile ring...

Astonishing. The timing of this article (for some reason released on Easter Saturday) is the only reason I can think this isn’t one of the biggest stories going around. Imagine if it was Collingwood? There would be a Royal Commission called

So many questions to be answered here.
 

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lumpinee

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English football has had it's moment of reckoning with the issue recently, I wouldn't be surprised if there were more stories like this. Any organisation that works with large numbers of young people has historically attracted the last sort of people that should be working there.
i dont know if its been mentioned here but Leeds legend Gary Speed committed suicide not so long ago,his struggles after being molested as a junior
in the system by a coach became too much
 

deck

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Fair enough. I think everybody was referring to the instances of paedophilia. I ******* hate the trend that’s kind of emerged of conflating some of the most serious and monstrous of criminal behaviour - sexual assault - with “culture”.

It’s happening with the debate around what happened in Canberra. The whole discussion started with a rape. A rape. It’s now morphed (I think partly through design) into something about “culture” and “respect for women”.

Those issues are important too but let’s not lose sight of the fact that there’s a difference between a poor culture and “poor behaviour” and rape. The latter is not part of the former. It’s not to be excused as such or conflated. Rape is a monstrous, CRIMINAL act that doesn’t require a cultural reset, it requires the full wrath of the law and those who uphold it.

The culture of football might have been poor in the 80s, but child molestation isn’t a cultural thing. It’s a grave crime, committed by monsters who need to be locked up.
But it is a culture issue when higher ups know whats going on and look the other way and pretend it didn't happen.

I'm not saying that is the case here but history shows when you have lots of cases in these instances usually someone outside the perpetrator and victims knows about it.
 

sandeano

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Holy crap does this article bury the lede somewhat.

5000 words of tragic, ‘what-if’ story about Rod Owen (and an interesting, nuanced and humanising read too).

Then the bombshell that St Kilda gave speed to a teenager to help him play in the face of depression...

Then suddenly the revelation that St Kilda’s little league team harboured a pedophile ring...

Astonishing. The timing of this article (for some reason released on Easter Saturday) is the only reason I can think this isn’t one of the biggest stories going around. Imagine if it was Collingwood? There would be a Royal Commission called

So many questions to be answered here.

There's a lot to unpack here, isn't there? The story has just broken so I'll give it time to develop, but other media (so far) seem pretty quiet about it. It is almost as if a single one of the revelations in this piece would be a major story, but with such a tsunami of horrid sh*t no-one seems to know where to start.
 

lumpinee

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regardless of how long it supposedly took Rod to open up about the abuse as a minor,the one certainty is higher ups have info on wots going on
in they're organisation...so
WOW...theres a lot of explaining required from these 2 organisations ,Beaumaris PS & St.Kilda FC, theyve obviously tried to bury this for as long as possible just like Xavier College & St. Kevins....its safe to say theyre protecting a lot of ppl guilty of misconduct,it wont be just the perpetrators named in here
and even if it is just the 2 scumbags named its the fact that these organisations are aware and cover it up.
The media are no better,owned by scum,unfortunately all education,judicial and government networks are hives of and for pedophilia,fact
 

Lavender Bushranger

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regardless of how long it supposedly took Rod to open up about the abuse as a minor,the one certainty is higher ups have info on wots going on
in they're organisation...so
WOW...theres a lot of explaining required from these 2 organisations ,Beaumaris PS & St.Kilda FC, theyve obviously tried to bury this for as long as possible just like Xavier College & St. Kevins....its safe to say theyre protecting a lot of ppl guilty of misconduct,it wont be just the perpetrators named in here
and even if it is just the 2 scumbags named its the fact that these organisations are aware and cover it up.
The media are no better,owned by scum,unfortunately all education,judicial and government networks are hives of and for pedophilia,fact
Hang on, are you suggesting the paedophile situation in the little league was a club supported thing?
 

master bate

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I think the biggest problem with this piece is it isn’t consumable. Far fewer people are going to stick with it because of its length. It should’ve been broken into parts over multiple days, more would’ve taken it in and it would’ve been just as powerful.
A short video recap with just the pictures and some short text or spoken words would pretty much tell the whole story. The US newspapers are really good with those summaries.

Not a knock on the quality of Russell's words but the pictures tell the story in this case. A frightened boy, a strapping young footballer with the world at his feet, a beat up and beat down player towards the end of his time, an addict, a dad, the ex partner, the daughters, hope. It's all there in Rod's briefcase.
 

Back One Out

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Also you have to take into account stories can get taller over time and there would be messed up stuff going on now at clubs we will probably not find about for years/decades.
Lavender Bushranger is muddying the waters by talking about the drinking culture at football clubs
We all know that was a huge problem at many clubs - not just VFL/AFL, but in all leagues - and continues to this day.

But that's not the point of this story.

When Rod Owen turned up to Moorabbin and became enmeshed in the VFL football culture of drink and drugs, he was not a full grown adult.
He was a 16 year old kid whose life was in turmoil after his father had just died.

Saints official Ian Stewart briefly became the "father figure" in Owen's life who told him to ditch school and sign a contract.
He was only looking out for St Kilda's interests. He wasn't helping Owen.

When Owen was sobbing before a game, team officials gave him a fistful of "speed bombs". Owen said he became addicted from that moment. "Best feeling I'd ever experienced in my life... I spent the next 38 years chasing that first high... I'd been given the drugs to overcome emotional trauma, but it provided a rush, and soon they became part of my life."
Rod discovered, as well as pulling him together on game days, speed allowed him to power through marathon drinking sessions.
Afterwards he'd careen through the family like a tornado, smashing everything in sight.
Owen's mum said "As a 16-year-old, the drugs just blew his brain... He just fractured the whole family. I rang Ian Stewart one day and said 'Rod is underage, he is not to go out with these guys'. He said 'You have no right to stop him'. There was absolutely no guidance."

Stewart denies this. But the question remains... What the f**k did he do about it? Where was he?

Owen's mum (whose husband had died) could no longer cope with her out-of-control son and kicked him out of the house.
Thus began his life of couch-surfing, of marijuana joints and cask wine for breakfast and afternoons at the TAB
Again, where was Ian Stewart while all of this happening? Or the coach, Tony Jewell? Or the captain, Trevor Barker? Or anyone else at the club? Was nobody looking out for the youngest player on their senior list? It's not about picking on any one individual. Just incredible that an entire footy club can be so negligent.

It's one thing to have a drink and drugs culture at a footy club... It's another thing entirely to bring minors into your footy club and expose them to all of that. (and do nothing while they go under.)

If there are other similar stories to this, I'd like to hear them. I've never heard of anything like this. I don't think that makes me "naive". I just don't believe that's how most normal footy clubs operated. When I read stories about young Timmy Watson or Dermie Brereton in their first seasons, it was mainly stuff about the club giving them money for a taxi to get them to training after school and then back home again... and how in awe they were of their heroes who they now trained with... and how Paul Van der Haar was a ratbag... etc etc... But nothing like this shiit.


TL;DR. it's not just the drinking culture at footy clubs, but a culture of drinking & drugs, foisting that on your underage recruits and showing them no care.
 
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Lavender Bushranger

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Lavender Bushranger is muddying the waters by talking about drinking culture at football clubs
We all know that was a huge problem at many clubs - not just VFL/AFL, but in all leagues - and continues to this day.

But that's not the point of this story.

When Rod Owen turned up to Moorabbin and became enmeshed in the VFL football culture of drink and drugs, he was not a full grown adult.
He was a 16 year old kid whose life was in tumoil after father had just died.

Saints official Ian Stewart briefly became the "father figure" in Owen's life who told him to ditch school and sign a contract.
He was only looking out for St Kilda's interests. He wasn't helping Owen.

When Owen was sobbing before a game, team officials gave him a fistful of "speed bombs". Owen said he became addicted from that moment. "Best feeling I'd ever experienced in my life... I spent the next 38 years chasing that first high... I'd been given the drugs to overcome emotional trauma, but it provided a rush, and soon they became part of my life."
Owen's mum said "As a 16-year-old, the drugs just blew his brain... He just fractured the whole family. I rang Ian Stewart one day and said 'Rod is underage, he is not to go out with these guys'. He said 'You have no right to stop him'. There was absolutely no guidance."

Stewart denies this. But the question remains... What the f**k did he do about it? Where was he?

Owen's mum could no longer cope with her out-of-control son and kicked him out of the house.

Again, where was Ian Stewart while all of this happening? Or the coach, Tony Jewell? Or the captain, Trevor Barker? Or anyone else at the club? Was nobody looking out for the youngest player on their senior list? It's not to pick on any one individual. Just incredible that an entire footy club can be so negligent.

It's one thing to have a drink and drugs culture at a footy club... It's another thing entirely to bring minors into your footy club and expose them to all of that. (and do nothing while they go under.)

If there are other similar stories to this, I'd like to hear them. I've never heard of anything like this. I don't think that makes me "naive". I just don't believe that's how most normal footy clubs operated. When I read stories about young Timmy Watson or Dermie Brereton in their first seasons, it was mainly stuff about the club giving them money for taxi to get them to training after school and then back home again... and how in awe they were of their heroes who they now trained with... and how Paul Van der Haar was a ratbag... etc etc... But nothing like this shiit.


TL;DR. it's not just the drinking culture at footy clubs, but a culture of drinking & drugs and foisting that on your underage recruits.
I'm not referring to just the old drinking culture. It goes much further than that.
 

sandeano

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It's entirely different conversation if the club knew about it. Is that what's being suggested?

As disgraceful as some of St. Kilda's actions were in this story, they were such a disorganised rabble at the time I doubt that they had any idea what was going on. That being the case, the VFL should have been displaying due diligence in running the Little League competition and keeping an eye on who was dealing with the kids. Then again, the VFL were a pretty disorganised rabble at the time too....
 

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