Broome bishop Christopher Saunders stands down over serious allegations

By Marta Pascual Juanola
March 11, 2020

Broome Bishop Christopher Saunders.

One of Australia's highest-ranking Catholics has voluntarily stood aside amid serious allegations.

On Wednesday afternoon the Catholic Church issued a statement saying Broome Bishop Christopher Saunders, 70, had stepped aside from the administration of the diocese and Monsignor Paul Boyers had been appointed to take care of the day to day running of the parish.

Police sources would not confirm the nature of the allegation, but agreed they were serious and local police were briefed about an incoming media presence in the town on Wednesday morning.

Bishop Saunders is one of Australia's longest-serving bishops well-known for his interest in Indigenous affairs and involvement in Aboriginal study groups.

He was first appointed to Broome as administrator in 1989 and had more than 10,000 people under his care.

Bishop Saunders' decision to step down as Broome Bishop follows an 18-month investigation by WA Police.

In an official statement, Perth Archibishop Timothy Costelloe announced Wollongong Bishop Peter Ingham would be travelling to Broome to oversee the diocese, while Monsignor Paul Boyers took care of the day to day management of the parish.

WA Police said they would not comment on allegations made against specific individuals.



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