AFL club must pay $5.9m over abuse

The Western Bulldogs AFL club has been ordered to pay a record $5.9 million to a child sex abuse victim.

Adam Kneale was a waterboy when he was abused by volunteer Graeme Hobbs at the Melbourne club between 1984 and 1990. Mr Kneale, now 51, sued the club, claiming it was liable for the lifelong damage cause by the abuse.

The Supreme Court of Victoria yesterday ruled the club was negligent by failing to stop a pedophile who preyed on young boys.

The court ordered the club to pay $3.25 million for Mr Kneale’s pain and suffering, $2.6 million for loss of earnings, and $87,000 for medical costs. The amount is understood to be the largest damages figure for an abuse survivor in Australian legal history.

The Western Bulldogs have said they will appeal the verdict “as expeditiously as possible” given the financial strain such a payout would cause.

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