Retired Bishop Christopher Saunders is Charged by Police for Abuse after a Vos estis lux mundi Investigation

The Vatican News portal has released that Australian bishop Christopher Saunders has been charged with 19 sexual offences. After the arrest of the retired Bishop emeritus Christopher Saunders, the Australian Bishops Conference released a statement. Archbishop Timothy Costelloe said the ongoing investigation was “right and proper, and indeed necessary.” Bishop Christopher Saunders, emeritus of Broome in Western Australia, was arrested on February 21st, 2024. According to Vatican News, the he was released on bail on Thursday, February 22nd, and ordered to remain at his home until his next hearing in June. Vatican News explained that he is charged with two counts of rape, 14 counts of unlawful and indecent assault, and three counts of indecently dealing with a child as a person in authority. Accusations were initially made against Bishop Emeritus Broome in 2020. A police investigation was closed without charge, but Pope Francis then ordered a canonical investigation according to the provisions of Vos estis lux mundi, his 2019 motu proprio on fighting sexual abuse. The investigation was overseen by Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane but was carried out by independent investigators, and resulted in a 200-page report. After this report was handed over to Australian police, they opened a new investigation into Bishop Emeritus Saunders. It is as part of this investigation that he has now been charged. The bishop resigned from his position in 2020.

FULL TEXT Statement by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Australia:

 Matter regarding Bishop Christopher Saunders

 A statement from Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB Archbishop of Perth and President, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference: 

“Allegations against the former Bishop of Broome, Christopher Saunders are very serious and deeply distressing, especially for those making those allegations. “It is right and proper, and indeed necessary, that all such allegations be thoroughly investigated. “The Church will continue to cooperate fully with the police and take every necessary step to avoid any actions which may compromise the integrity and autonomy of the police investigation.”

Sources: Vatican News -