Bishop of Broome steps aside amidst allegations
Australian Bishop Christopher Saunders of Broome has temporarily stepped back from his duties following allegations of historical sexual abuse. The Vatican has begun an investigation into claims that Saunders sexually abused boys several decades ago.
Archbishop Timothy Costelloe, SDB of Perth, metropolitan archbishop of the province, announced that Saunders voluntarily stepped aside on Tuesday, March 10, in a letter to the diocese.
Bishop Peter Ingham, emeritus bishop of the diocese of Wollongong has been named as the Apostolic Visitor of the Broome diocese while the investigation continues.
“The Holy See, conscious of the particular situation in the Diocese of Broome and concerned for the pastoral care of the clergy, religious and laity of the Diocese, has appointed Most Reverend Peter W Ingham, Emeritus Bishop of Wollongong, Apostolic Visitator to the Diocese, effective today,” wrote Costelloe on March 10.
“Bishop Christopher Saunders, in order to allow the Apostolic Visitator the freedom to carry out his duties, has voluntarily stood aside from the ordinary administration of the diocese for the duration of the Visitation. The day-to-day running of the Diocese will be the responsibility of Monsignor Paul Boyers.”
Bishop Saunders was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Broome in 1976. He was born in Melbourne. In 1989, he became the diocesan administrator and was consecrated as the bishop of Broome in 1995. He is 70 years old.