A Catholic Bishop is charged with a child-sex offence from 1989

Broken Rites

The Catholic Bishop of the Australian Defence Force has been charged by police with a child-sex offence allegedly committed in 1969. Bishop Max Davis, 68, is believed to be the most senior Catholic clergyman (and the first bishop) to be charged by Australian police with a child-sex offence.

The alleged incident took place when Davis was teaching at St Benedict’s College, a boys’ school in New Norcia, north-east of Perth.

On 29 June 2014 a statement from the Catholic Military Ordinariate of Australia said:

“An allegation has been made to the police that in 1969 Bishop Max Davis abused a student at St. Benedict’s College in New Norcia. At that time – 45 years ago – the bishop was not ordained. The bishop emphatically denies the allegation and the charge will be defended.”

The statement said that Bishop Davis will stand aside while the matter is dealt with by the courts in Western Australia.

Research by Broken Rites

Bishop Max Leroy Davis was born in Townsville, Queensland, in 1945 and grew up in Perth, where he was educated by the Christian Brothers.

From 1962 to 1964 he served as a sailor in the Australian Navy.

After studying for the priesthood, he was ordained in 1971. He served with parishes in the Perth archdiocese and was a part-time chaplain for the Army.

From 1975 to 1993, he served as chaplain on various ships and bases in Australia and overseas.

In 1990 he became part of the Catholic Church’s newly established Military Ordinariate and was appointed its vicar-general (that is, the administrator under the military bishop). He became the principal Catholic chaplain for the Navy in 1993.

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