A woman at the centre of the Jonathan Patton sexting scandal says his exit from the game will send a strong message to others.
A woman at the centre of the Jonathan Patton sexting scandal says his exit from the game will send a strong message to others.

Footy star victim speaks about impact of unwanted sexting

A victim of Hawthorn forward Jonathon Patton's sexting scandal says his exit from the game will send a strong message to others.

Elle Coonan, 22, was among several women who came forward in January and accused the former No. 1 draft pick of sending unsolicited lewd images and videos over social media.

Speaking to the Herald Sun after Patton announced he had quit AFL, Ms Coonan said she felt she had some justice.

"To see a man losing his job, that'll get the message through,'' Ms Coonan said.

"I'm happy he won't have the same power over women and they won't see him as special. It will send a strong message to others that you can't get away with it."

Ms Coonan, who is set to apply to join the defence force, says the abuse she copped after speaking out was the hardest to deal with.

"I still get messages now saying I ruined his career - it was shocking to go from someone no one knew to everyone hating you," she said from her Brisbane home.

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Jon Patton has retired. Picture: AFL Photos
Jon Patton has retired. Picture: AFL Photos

She said the AFL had been supportive and since organised a therapist for her and 10 other women who made similar claims.

"The AFL were so good about everything," she said.

Patton, 27, walked away from a half-a-million dollar contract with the Hawks, apologising on Friday for his "completely unacceptable" conduct.

He said he was committed to making changes in his life.

Patton was contracted to Hawthorn for the 2021-22 seasons before he was stood down.

The Herald Sun can reveal that Patton's retirement was not forced on him by the AFL.

The league's integrity department did not interview the big Hawk over the allegations and it is understood the decision to retire was Patton's choice.

"I have made the difficult decision to retire from football to focus on my health, wellbeing, and future outside of the game," Patton said in a statement.

"The constant battle to overcome injuries since I entered the AFL 10 years ago has been relentless and, on many occasions, overwhelming.

"I also want to take this opportunity to apologise for my inappropriate behaviour towards women.

"Over the past few months, I have taken time to reflect on my mistakes.

"My actions were completely unacceptable, and I am truly sorry for any distress I have caused.

"I am committed to continuing to learn from my mistakes and actively make the necessary changes.

"I have very much appreciated the opportunities I have been given by both Hawthorn and the Giants and for the continued support I have received from countless teammates, staff and fans from both clubs."

Jonathon Patton has played his last game of footy.
Jonathon Patton has played his last game of footy.

The AFL said it had informed the women involved of Patton's decision to retire as a league footballer.

Patton's ongoing mental issues meant the AFL did not have the opportunity to put to him the allegations made by several women or consider a penalty.

The AFL has no other powers given Patton's retirement but he has made it clear he will not play AFL again.

Patton would have to reapply to the AFL for reinstatement and the league would then reinvestigate the allegations. A future penalty has not been ruled out.

There is no active police investigation underway in regards to Patton's conduct.

Sydney's Elijah Taylor was sacked by the Swans over domestic violence allegations and when he attempted to return through the VFL he was banned by AFL House until June.

"The AFL has acknowledged the retirement of Jonathon Patton and his decision to withdraw from all levels of football in 2021 and his apology for the distress caused by his inappropriate behaviour towards women," an AFL spokesman said.

"The AFL is committed to the respectful treatment of women and acknowledges Patton's admission that his actions were unacceptable and accepts his commitment to learning from his mistakes.

"The AFL Integrity Unit, which was investigating the behaviour under the League's Respect and Responsibility policy, has informed the complainants of Patton's decision to retire as an AFL footballer.

One of the women had made clear Patton's messages were unsolicited, with some of the accusations dating back as far as 2017.

"Basically from the get-go he was talking to me in such a sexual nature that I never reciprocated. He would send me photos of him in bed exposed," Elle Coonan told Nine News.

"I would make it really clear that I didn't want that from him."

 

 

Originally published as Patton victim speaks out as retirement costs star $500K