News

Deacon, former Qld Minister Pat Comben removed

Pat Comben.
Pat Comben.

THE Anglican Deacon involved in the Diocese of Grafton's initial response to child abuse allegations at the North Coast Children's Home has been removed from holy orders.

Patrick Comben was the former registrar of the Diocese of Grafton and also stood on the Clarence Valley Council between 2008-12.

Mr Comben, 65, also served as an education and health minister in the Queensland Goss administration before he was ordained and relocated to NSW.

His removal from holy orders followed a hearing by an independent professional standards board led by Sydney barrister Kevin Rolfe QC.

The board's recommendation was made to current Grafton bishop, Rev Dr Sarah Macneil, who adopted it and informed Mr Comben of his removal from the church. Under church law there is no avenue of appeal.

Former child abuse survivor Richard "Tommy" Campion was present at the hearing and said he felt vindicated by the church's decision.

Mr Campion said Mr Comben, while he was registrar at the Diocese, had admitted to allegations of "failing to respond to numerous claims of child abuse" which had occurred at the children's home between 1940 and 1985.

Mr Campion said Mr Comben had asked the barrister if it was possible for him to resign his Holy Orders "without being pushed" after admitting to the allegations.

He said Mr Comben had been "in a position of trust" when abuse claims started to belatedly crop up in the early 2000s.

He said the allegations should have been dealt with "quickly, passionately, and with absolute care for every child who was abused in that hellhole".

"It was a place that shed a lot of blood and a lot of heartache," he said.

"These people should have paid attention to that. If they had have done that and cared straight away and listened to the victims of abuse they wouldn't have had to go through this.

"They wanted to save their money, they wanted to save the good name of the Church."

A report by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse found the Diocese of Grafton had denied responsibility for sexual abuse, denied compensation to victims, failed to comply with its own policies and dealt with victims insensitively.

Topics:  abuse, editors picks




Asbestos, weather add costs, delay park project

Progress on the upgrade on McLachlan Park in Maclean.

An asbestos find will add $105,000 to a council project.

Bizarre police station attack caught on CCTV

A Coast pensioner has been refused bail after being charged with drug trafficking.

TWO men refused bail after attack on police station

Shark bump was 'very similar to Mick Fanning incident'

Curran See and Harris Lake, both 18, were waiting for a set at Sharpes Beach on Tuesday when they were both attacked by an aggressive white shark.

THREE surfers have been knocked off their boards by sharks

Latest deals and offers

Kerri-Anne Kennerley to Sonia Kruger: "Stay brave"

She said her television peer should "stay brave"

Swimwear designer looking for love on The Bachelor

Noni Janur on her first day of filming.

The 25-year-old is one of 22 women vying for Richie Strahan’s heart

Three reasons your mind will be blown this week

Alan Dale and Jacki Weaver in a scene from the TV series Secret City.

THREE shows on Foxtel to make your mind boggle.

Elena wins MasterChef: “I’m ecstatic and eager to celebrate"

MasterChef Australia 2016 winner Elena Duggan, from Noosa.

NOOSA chefs survive marathon grand final dish by Heston Blumenthal.

Shannen Doherty shaves hair during cancer battle

Shannen Doherty has completely shaved off her hair

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

Massive residential 9-storey high-rise hit by delays

An artist’s impression of the eight-storey-high apartment complex that Bernoth Holdings wants to build in South Toowoomba, next to the City Golf Club.

Developer struggles to get approved high-rise development started