Broome: Ex-Bishop Christopher Saunders facing charges of historical indecent assault


A former Catholic bishop is facing allegations of indecent assault after police charged the 74-year-old man with two offences relating to incidents that allegedly happened eight years ago.

Police will allege in 2016 Bishop Christopher Saunders indecently assaulted a man who was aged 21 or 22 at the time.

On Wednesday, detectives raided the home of the former bishop of Broome and charged him with two counts of indecent assault.

He is due to appear in Broome Magistrates Court on June 17.

Police said their investigation was ongoing and urged anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers.

A Church spokesperson said in a statement that the Catholic Diocese of Broome was aware WA Police had charged the former bishop with offences as part of an ongoing investigation into claims of sexual abuse.

“The Catholic Diocese of Broome has, and will continue, to offer full transparency and co-operation with WA Police,” they said.

“Accordingly, no comment will be made regarding the former bishop of Broome until such time as these proceedings are completed.

“The Catholic Diocese of Broome renews its unreserved apology to all those who have suffered the horror of sexual abuse.”

Bishop Saunders is the highest ranked Catholic in Australia to face prosecution for sexual offending.

He was ordained as a priest in 1976 and moved to the Kimberley region before becoming a bishop in 1996.

Bishop Saunders quit in August 2021 but has kept his title and entitlements.