Police release former Broome Bishop Christopher Saunders without charge after raid on home

Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC [Sydney, Australia]

January 17, 2024

Detectives have released a former Catholic Bishop without charge following an investigation into alleged historic child sex offences in Western Australia’s north.

Key points:

  • Christopher Saunders had been speaking to child abuse detectives
  • A raid took place on what is believed to be his former Broome home
  • Police say no charges have been laid

Police were on Monday seen at a Piggott Way home in Broome, where the ABC understands former Catholic Bishop Christopher Saunders resided until late last year.

WA Police confirmed Child Abuse Squad detectives were in town as part of an ongoing investigation, but would not be drawn on why officers were at the home.

A spokesperson on Wednesday said a 74-year-old man who had been speaking to police in relation to their inquiries had since been released and no charges had been laid.

Detectives remain in the Kimberley to conduct further inquiries.

An investigation into Bishop Saunders commenced in early 2020, with allegations of sexual misconduct levelled against the cleric.

Police spent more than a year investigating but closed the file in May 2021 without laying charges.

Bishop Saunders resigned from his position after that, but stayed in Broome until the case again made headlines following the leaking of an independent Vatican inquiry which described him as a sexual predator.

He has denied any wrongdoing.