The Marist Brothers harboured this criminal while he abused children

By a Broken Rites researcher

Brother Colgan Taylor had an exalted role as a "spiritual director" for the Catholic order of Marist Brothers in Australia while he was committing sexual crimes against young children. The reverend brother's Catholic status gave him access to children and it protected him from exposure until 2002, when police finally learned of sexual crimes that Taylor had committed, more than 20 years earlier, against two very young girls. It is possible that he also had male victims.

Broken Rites knows that these two girls were not Brother Colgan's only victims, nor were they his first victims. They are merely two who happened to come to the attention of police, unexpectedly, after a long delay. How many other victims did Brother Colgan Taylor have?

Lancelot Kenneth Taylor was born in Sydney on 18 March 1922. He was taught by Marist Brothers while he was a pupil at Sacred Heart school in Mosman (Sydney). When he finished his schooling, the 1930s depression limited his career choices but he had the opportunity of becoming a Marist Brother. In 1940, aged 18, he began training as a Marist Brother. In accordance with Marist policy, he was given a religious alias, becoming Brother "Colgan" Taylor ("Colgan" is an old Irish-Catholic name).

Brother Colgan Taylor taught at various Marist schools — for example, at Marcellin College Randwick and Marist Brothers Mosman (both in Sydney) and he became the Brother Superior at a Marist Brothers school in Innisfail, north Queensland,

Brother Colgan spent the major part of his career as a "spiritual director "and "counsellor". He was the Assistant Master of Novices (that is, he was training future Marist Brothers) at Mittagong, New South Wales, for six years. He worked for a year in Fribourg, Switzerland. Then he spent many years as a "spiritual director" at various Catholic retreat houses in Australia and two years at the Marists' Pacific Novitiate in Lomeri, Fiji.

Jailed in Queensland

In 2002, when Taylor was aged 80 (and living in a Marist retirement community at Campbelltown in Sydney), the Queensland police finally caught up with him. He was charged in a Queensland magistrates court with four incidents of indecent dealing, which he had committed on two young girls in central Queensland between 1979 and 1983.

When he began abusing these two girls, Taylor was aged in his late fifties.

One girl was five or six years old at the time of the offences. The other girl, who had an intellectual disability, was aged from eight to eleven during the offences.

The police charged him with four incidents but these were not necessarily his only offences.

The court was told that Taylor was a "pastoral care" worker. The offences were committed in the girls' houses. The girls' mothers caught him in the act but the crimes were not reported to the police until the younger girl came forward in 2002, when she was in her twenties.

Taylor pleaded guilty and the case was sent to the Brisbane District Court for sentencing. Taylor was liable to receive a jail sentence and the church's defence lawyer requested that this sentence should be totally suspended.

Judge Brian Hoath sentenced Taylor to 18 months' jail, ordering that he was to spend four months of this behind bars, with the remainder of the sentence being served in the community. The judge said that Taylor (aged 80 at sentencing) was unlikely to offend again.

Despite Taylor's conviction, the Marist Brothers allowed him to remain a member of the Marist Order. When he died on 12 December 2012, the Australian Marists put a glowing, respectful notice on a Marist international website, saying that Brother Col Taylor had gone to receive his "eternal reward". No mention of his conviction or his term in jail.

New South Wales

Complaints have also been made about Colgan Taylor by victims who encountered him in New South Wales.

Colgan Taylor frequently spent time in a Marist Brothers holiday house at Wategos Beach in Byron Bay NSW. (According to the White Pages telephone directory, the Marist Brothers still have a property at 1 Brownell Drive, Wategos Beach NSW 2481.)

A female has complained that she was assaulted by Colgan Taylor in her early teens in the mid-1970s after Taylor befriended her family who lived in the Wategos Beach district,

Broken Rites is doing further research on Brother Colgan Taylor — as an example of how the status of being a Catholic priest or religious Brother could provide respectability and protection for a child-sex criminal.

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