A priest, aged 85, is accused of abusing a young boy many years ago

  • By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 22 February 2021

Broken Rites research has ascertained that Max Blumenthal (born in 1936) began his Catholic Church career in New South Wales as a member of the Marist Brothers (a religious order which provided reverend Brothers for Catholic schools). Later (at the age of 38) this Brother upgraded his career by becoming ordained as a priest ("Father" Max). Father Max eventually retired from parish appointments. In February 2021, aged 85, he appeared in court charged by police with having committed sexual offences against a boy in the mid-1980s. The alleged victim, now a mature-aged adult, had recently contacted police.

The Broken Rites background research was based on church documents:

*The Marist Brothers' official list of all Brothers, who have ever worked (as a Marist Brother) in Australia, includes: "Maximus Blumenthal, born 10 January 1936."

*A list of ordinations says that the date when Brother Max became Father Max was 20 April 1974. Father Max's parishes were in the diocese of Bathurst, which covers a number of rural parishes (such as Gulgong and Mudgee) in central western New South Wales. (The cathedral for this diocese is located in the city of Bathurst.)

*According to Australia's annual Catholic directory, Father Max Blumenthal was last listed in parish work for the Bathurst diocese about 1998. Later, Father Max's address was listed as "care of" a Post Office box in Sydney. In recent years, according to church sources, he has served as a chaplain for retired Marist Brothers in Sydney. Also, according to church sources, he has occasionally helped the church during visits to dioceses such as Canberra and Hobart.

On 19 February 2021, police arrested Robert Maximus Blumenthal at a church residence in Sydney. He was taken to Sydney's Waverley Court, where the charges were officially filed with a magistrate.

The offences were allegedly committed against one young male, who was in his teens during the years of the incidents. Blumenthal is charged with: two counts of sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 10; and three counts of sexual intercourse with a person between 10 and under 16 who was under authority. The names of these alleged offences are as given in the NSW criminal statutes in the year of each incident (the NSW criminal statutes may be updated sometimes but any charges are laid in court as listed at the time of each incident).

The Blumenthal case is now awaiting the next gradual steps in the NSW court system. Meanwhile, during this process, Robert Maximus Blumenthal is released on bail.