The former rugby teammates of convicted child sex offender, Michael Quinn, have broken their silence

By Staff writers

Michael Quinn, from Melbourne, who has been charged in the US with child sex offences. Photo / Facebook
Michael Quinn, from Melbourne, who has been charged in the US with child sex offences. Photo / Facebook

The former teammates of amateur rugby union player, Michael Quinn, have revealed the abuse they've faced since he was arrested in the US over child sex crimes.

Speaking toABC's 7.30 some of the players from the Melbourne Chargers rugby union club decided to break their silence on the scandal which has seen them attacked by online trolls.

Quinn, 33, was sentenced on November 1 in a Los Angeles District Court to 12 years in a US prison for child sex offences.

He became emotional during sentencing, saying he had never offended against a child before and he was remorseful for what he had done.

"He got caught in the act ... I don't feel sorry for him," club vice-president Matt Arthy said.

It was in May 2016 when Quinn was in the US for the Bingham Cup, a gay-friendly rugby tournament, that he was caught in a sting operation trying to have sex with a six-year-old boy.

The players said they were blindsided by his arrest - but that hasn't stopped many from being accused of harbouring a paedophile.

Michael Quinn, from Melbourne, who has been charged in the US with child sex offences. Photo / Facebook
Michael Quinn, from Melbourne, who has been charged in the US with child sex offences. Photo / Facebook

"It was the biggest shock of my life," said club committee member Leon Kennedy who was in Nashville preparing for the tournament when news of Quinn's arrest broke.

"I remember sitting there and starting to shake because it came completely out of nowhere.

"He went out to social situations, he had regular relationships, just a regular person I got to know. That's probably why it was such a shock."

The team brought in counsellors and psychiatrists to support the more than 50 players who had travelled to Nashville to compete.

Club president Dan Syrus told 7.30 Quinn was just a regular guy and no one had any idea about the other life he was leading.

But the club has been the target of numerous online trolls, receiving hundreds of messages which have accused them of being paedophiles themselves and knowing of Quinn's crimes.

Quinn's former teammates; Dan Syrus, Matt Arthy and Leon Kennedy. Photo / ABC 7.30
Quinn's former teammates; Dan Syrus, Matt Arthy and Leon Kennedy. Photo / ABC 7.30

The club lost two sponsors and eight players who left over the stigma of being associated with Quinn.

"The thing that really - not hurt me but made me feel really down and out - was you wake up at 2:00am to a buzz on your phone ... and you get the subject line of 'you child fiddling faggots'," Arthy said.

"We would have called the cops straight away if we knew."

He said some people close to him had also been critical.

"It feels like I've had family members inferring guilt by association and just saying, 'why would I associate with people like that?'

"I was like, 'I don't!' I know I don't and the club doesn't either."

The club is now focusing on rebuilding their brand and putting the scandal behind them as they look to the future.

- news.com.au

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