Former footy player suing AFL, coach over alleged rape
Warning: This story contains details and content that some readers may find distressing.
A former Melbourne Demons recruit is suing the AFL and a former coach of his from a junior football league, who he alleges sexually assaulted him after a game when he was a teenager.
Daniel Hayes alleges that his former assistant coach of the Eastern Ranges, Mark Heaney, got him drunk and then raped him while Hayes was at a barbeque at Heaney's house when he was 17.
"I put a lot of trust into Mark," Hayes told 9News.
Heaney has publicly denied the claims and no charges have been laid.
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Hayes was drafted to the Demons in 2006 following the alleged assault, but was delisted after repeatedly not turning up to training.
The 34-year-old father of five has survived three suicide attempts since the alleged assault and turned to drugs and alcohol to cope.
"I hit rock bottom, I've got five kids who I don't see," he said.
Hayes is suing both Heaney and the AFL as the operator of the Eastern Ranges.
He is seeking financial compensation to cover the earnings he could have made as an AFL player, as well as medical costs to improve his mental health.
"It derailed everything, I walked out of my dream," Hayes said.
His lawyers claim the AFL did not uphold their duty of care to Hayes.
"The AFL had a duty of care to protect Daniel and a duty of care to make sure he was safe while trusting them to help him through his professional career," lawyer Aleksandar Dukovski said.
Hayes says he just wants justice, and to be a voice for other young men who may have gone through a similar thing.
"I blamed myself for most of my life, and I can't do it no more."
Victoria Police says an investigation into the matter remains ongoing.
Support is available from the National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service at 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732).
Readers seeking support can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyond blue on 1300 22 4636