POLICE have appealed to any victims of child abuse to come forward following a court appearance of a former Capuchin friar named at the child abuse royal commission.
Former priest Anthony Francis “Damian” Colbourne, an ex-member of the Capuchin Friars, faced Wynnum Magistrates Court on May 23 — across the road from the Guardian Angels Primary School – over the alleged abuse of an eight-year-old girl multiple times in the mid-1970s.
Colbourne is facing 13 child sex charges.
Arresting officer, Detective Sergeant Michael Froggatt, urged anyone with relevant information to contact their nearest police station or call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
“These might be 40-year-old (alleged) offences but these charges demonstrate that police will be tenacious in our pursuit of alleged child sex offenders,’’ he said.
The commission has so far referred 1050 people, including clergy, to police.
In a police statement, the alleged victim said Colbourne told her she had to fondle him because she was “a good girl who wants to go to heaven with your mummy and daddy”.
Colbourne is on bail on condition that he continue residing at a Capuchin friary in Melbourne with no contact with minors.
He was ordered to reappear in court on August 8.
In a pastoral letter on the Capuchin Franciscan Friars Australia website, the Order’s Provincial Minister – Australia, Fr Gary Devery, states: “He currently lives in a house next to one of our friaries that has no parish school nearby under a monitoring regime. It is our way of ensuring the ongoing protection of children.”
The website also reads: “He has been dispensed from the priesthood and the Capuchin friars by decree from the Vatican Congregation for Doctrine of the faith.”
“The ex-priest ex-friar has recently been contacted by the police and now has a matter of alleged sexual abuse of a minor before the criminal court.”