Former Broome Bishop Christopher Saunders – A Call for Witnesses
Addressing the Child Abuse Allegations Against Former Bishop Christopher Saunders
The community of Broome, Western Australia, has been drawn into the spotlight following recent police activities at the former residence of Christopher Saunders, the town’s former Catholic Bishop. This article delves into the allegations against Saunders, with an aim to provide information for those potentially affected.
Christopher Saunders, who dedicated nearly half a century to the Broome Diocese, faced allegations of sexual misconduct, which led to his voluntary resignation in 2020. An 18-month police investigation, known as “Operation White Plane,” was concluded in May 2021 without charges, citing insufficient evidence. Further investigations, including the Vos Estis Lux Mundi report commissioned by the Pope, have also been conducted.
The Response from Saunders and the Church
Broome Catholic Bishop Christopher Saunders has maintained his innocence throughout these proceedings. The Australian Bishops Conference has been involved in the matter, ensuring cooperation with legal authorities and emphasising the Church’s commitment to transparency in handling these allegations.
Impact on the Broome Community
These events have undoubtedly had an impact on the Broome community, stirring a mix of emotions among those connected to the Church. It underscores the importance of addressing such serious allegations with care and sensitivity.
A Catholic Church-owned residence in suburban Broome was searched by Child Sexual Abuse detectives in mid-January 2024.
Call to Action for Survivors and Witnesses
We encourage anyone with information about these allegations, whether as a survivor or a witness, to come forward. Sharing your experiences can play a crucial role in bringing justice to potential survivors. Please either complete the call-back request at the bottom of this article or call our main Sydney office on 02 9283 5599.
Legal Perspective and Support
Koffels Solicitors & Barristers, specialising in historical institutional child sexual abuse compensation claims, is prepared to offer legal guidance to those affected. Our many years of successful claims against the Catholic Church put us in an ideal position to offer legal assistance where needed and encourage open communication for those directly or indirectly impacted.