Bishop of Broome Christopher Saunders stands down amid allegations of sexual misconduct

bishop saunders

Bishop Christopher Saunders has chosen to stand down while WA Police and the Vatican investigate allegations of historical child sexual abuse against him.

WA Police have been investigating Bishop Saunders since 2018. They have not specified the nature of the abuse, any specific individuals or details, and have not stated how long the investigation will take.

No charges have been laid, and Bishop Saunders has denied any wrongdoing. 

In a report aired on Seven News, Bishop Saunders denied the claims.

It’s extraordinary. Without any doubt whatsoever, without any reservation, that has never happened and it never would happen,” he claimed.

Bishop Saunders gave evidence to assist the Royal Commission hearing in Perth in 2017. At the time, he criticised the Catholic Church’s response to child abuse complaints and nominated more intensive psychological testing for priests and seminarians as a key method to help stop and expose abusers.

Despite his strong stance against clergy sex offenders, Bishop Saunders found himself personally under fire a year later. 

He stood down when the Vatican appointed an Apostolic Visitor to look into the abuse allegations and the administration of the remote Broome Diocese.

The Diocese is one of the largest in Australia, taking in over 770,000 square kilometres, and Saunders has been its Bishop for 25 years. He has served the church in the remote north for 40 years.

Feature Image: ABC

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