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Former Capuchin friar sent to jail for indecent assault of child

A FORMER Capuchin friar who sexually abused a young girl attending a Brisbane Catholic school on four separate occasions in 1974 has been jailed for four months.

Anthony Colbourne, a former parish priest at the Guardian Angels Church, Wynnum, pleaded guilty on May 23 to indecently assaulting his eight-year-old victim in the presbytery and his office, on four separate occasions.

Police charged Colbourne in May 2016 after the victim reported to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The 75-year-old was removed from public functions in 1997 and lived “under a monitoring regime” in a house next to a Capuchin friary, and with no parish school nearby.

He was dispensed from the priesthood more than a year ago.

Order of Capuchin Friars Minor provincial minister in Australia Fr Gary Devery said: “When he departed from the congregation and priesthood I judged it better to allow him to rent a room in a little cottage we have at the back of our property in Melbourne – it is reasonably isolated from other suburban houses and it was within walking distance to the police station to which he had to regularly report after his arrest.

“I judged it safer in terms of child protection that he was not living in close proximity to other houses.

“The rental agreement has now ceased.

“I welcome the custodial sentence for Anthony Colbourne for the heinous crimes he committed against the person when she was a child.”

Colbourne was sentenced to a total 18 months in jail, which will be suspended for three years after he has spent four months behind bars.

Written by: The Catholic Leader

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