Another Christian Brother (Bro. Obbens) is charged in New South Wales
Christian Brother William John Obbens (also known as Brother “Dominic” Obbens) has appeared in court, charged with two counts of indecent assault of “a person under 16 under authority”. Police allege that the offences were committed on one boy, then aged 13, in the late 1980s, while Brother Obbens was a teacher at St Patrick’s Christian Brothers College in Goulburn, south-western New South Wales.
The case had its first mention in Goulburn Local Court on 22 December 2014 when the prosecutors officially filed the charges against Brother Obbens during a brief administrative procedure.
Brother Obbens, aged 69, now of Balmain in Sydney, sat behind his solicitor in court.
As often happens, the court adjourned the case for several weeks while the prosecutors and the defence are dealing with some court documentation. The prosecution must provide a brief of evidence to the defence by 28 January 2015, and the defence is to provide a reply by February 11.
The case is scheduled to have its next mention in Goulburn Local Court on 11 February 2015. The defence solicitor asked that Brother Obbens be excused from attending the Goulburn court on that date as he lives in Sydney.
Obbens has been granted conditional bail.
The defendant’s name was listed in court documents as: OBBENS, William John. When he first joined the Christian Brothers in the 1960s, this religious order normally gave its new recruits a “religious” name. Therefore, in the Christian Brothers, he became known as Brother Dominic Obbens (and was sometimes listed in church publications as Brother W.D. Obbens).
Brother Obbens was a teacher at St Patrick’s College, Goulburn, from 1986 to 1989, according to a book, entitled Up on the Hill: A History of St Patrick’s College, written by David Bollen.
Obbens was arrested at his Sydney home on 11 December 2014 by detectives from Goulburn (in a special unit called Strike Force Charish). The investigators are Senior Detective Dave Turner and Senior Detective Michael Callegha. A leading officer in the Goulburn Detectives Office is Detective Sergeant Matt Woods.