Jobs Events Advertise

Detectives return to Broome, ex-Bishop's home searched

Aaron Bunch -

Child abuse squad detectives have travelled to a popular holiday town as part of an investigation into historic sex offences.

Police have searched the Western Australian home of the former Bishop of Broome Christopher Saunders for a second time.

Premier Roger Cook said detectives were investigating "some very grievous allegations".

"The fact that they're back there today really just demonstrates how seriously they take these accusations," he said on Thursday.

"We're really pleased that they are providing resources that are getting on top of that situation."

The same property was searched by police on January 15. The visits come several months after the Catholic Church handed detectives a report detailing allegations of sexual assault and grooming against the veteran cleric.

The Vatican report found Bishop Saunders hosted "bunga bunga" parties at church properties in Broome, the Seven Network previously reported.

He also allegedly spent thousands of dollars in church money on cash payments, mobile phones, alcohol and cigarettes.

The Vatican identified 67 Indigenous boys and young men who may have been subjected to sexual assault or grooming.

Police are understood to have reopened an investigation into the former bishop after receiving the report.

Bishop Saunders has previously denied the allegations and has not been charged by police.

He resigned from his role in Broome in 2020 after sexual misconduct and bullying claims emerged.

The church previously said Bishop Saunders refused to leave the Broome diocese during its internal investigation and he also chose not to participate in questioning.

Its 200-page Vos Estis Lux Mundi investigation found Bishop Saunders developed a "modus operandi" of grooming young Indigenous men for sex during his time in the Kimberley region.

It also interviewed witnesses who described the bishop as being "a wonderful orator and strong leader" but also a sexual predator preying on vulnerable ­Indigenous boys and young men.

The report was also critical of the WA police's previous investigation into the bishop's alleged offending and the decision not to press criminal charges due to difficulties in establishing the ages of victims at the time of the alleged offending.

WA Police has previously said it carried out two investigations into a number of complaints regarding a member of the Catholic Church in the Kimberley between 2018 and 2020.

It said there was insufficient evidence to lay criminal charges.

Aaron Bunch - AAP


In a heartbeat: smart watches helping to close the gap
When Aunty Mary Waites joined a research trial aimed at helping to reduce the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease in Abori...
Rudi Maxwell 23 Feb 2024
Groote Eylandt residents call for land council probe
Hundreds on a remote Northern Territory Island have called on the federal government to investigate "potential gross misconduct"...
Neve Brissenden 23 Feb 2024
Nominations open for the 2024 Queensland Reconciliation Awards
Businesses, community groups, schools, sporting clubs, and cultural organisations are invited to submit nominations for the 2024...
Joseph Guenzler 23 Feb 2024
Experts say MP's approach to NT youth crime is not evidence-based
Experts have criticised calls from Labor MP Marion Scrymgour for the NT to show “tough love” to juvenile offenders, arguing her...
Dechlan Brennan 23 Feb 2024

   Aaron Bunch   

Partner sues prisons over Indigenous inmate's death
A woman is suing the NSW prison system and inmate healthcare service over the death in custody of her partner after a coroner fo...
Duncan Murray 15 Feb 2024
Uluru resort could hit the market as owners mull sale
The Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation is exploring options for the Ayers Rock Resort, the only place for tourists to stay when...
Rudi Maxwell 15 Feb 2024
Darlington set for National Indigenous Cricket Championships return
Australian international Hannah Darlington is set to return to the National Indigenous Cricket Championships after being selecte...
Callan Morse 15 Feb 2024
Tasmania to field youthful men’s squad at National Indigenous Cricket Championships
Tasmania has announced a youthful men’s squad for this year’s National Indigenous Cricket Championships, the tournament set to t...
Callan Morse 15 Feb 2024