News Corp Australia [Sydney, New South Wales, Australia]
November 30, 2023
By Duncan Evans
A Catholic priest who gained fame for blessing an NRL team on their way to glory is facing allegations he abused a boy decades ago.
A Catholic priest with decades of service to church communities is facing allegations he abused a boy in historical sex crimes going back decades.
Queensland Police allege Father David Lancini, a priest from Townsville in the state’s north, abused a boy under the age of 14 between 1969 and 1971.
Fr Lancini now faces eight counts of indecent treatment of a boy under 14 and he will appear in Townsville Magistrates Court for the first time on December 5.
In a statement to NCA NewsWire, a Catholic Diocese of Townsville spokesman said Fr Lancini denied the allegations against him.
“Fr Dave Lancini strongly denies any involvement in the alleged offences,” the spokesman said.
“Fr Dave Lancini is currently not involved in any public ministry until such time as the legal proceedings has concluded.”
The spokesman also said the diocese had “full confidence” in the legal system.
“Our constant thoughts and prayers are with all victims who have been abused by clergy, religious and lay people at this challenging time,” the spokesman said.
“The Diocese of Townsville is committed to doing all it can to ensure victims of such abuse receive justice and healing.”
The Catholic Church continues to grapple with the fallout of the child sex abuse crisis that has hit the church in recent decades, both in Australia and around the world.
In October, independent Spanish investigators calculated the Catholic clergy in Spain abused more than 200,000 children from 1940 onwards.
Fr Lancini, 77, entered the Banyo Seminary in Brisbane in 1966 and was ordained as a priest on August 11, 1972.
He served at various parishes across the state, including in Ayr, Mount Isa, Hughenden and Townsville.
In 2015, Fr Lancini “blessed” the North Queensland Cowboys rugby league team on their way to clinching victory in the NRL grand final.
He retired from the priesthood in 2020.