The former home of a resigned West Australian bishop who was at the centre of an investigation ordered by Pope Francis was yesterday raided by police. Source: The West Australian.
The ABC reported a home in Broome, which former Broome Bishop Christopher Saunders lived in, was searched by WA child abuse detectives.
7News reported Bishop Saunders was also being interviewed by police in Perth yesterday.
A police spokeswoman confirmed a person was assisting officers with their inquiries.
A Vos Estis Lux Mundi investigation ordered by the Pope into the West Australian bishop — the first of its kind in Australian history — levelled a number of sexual misconduct allegations at him.
Bishop Saunders has always denied any wrongdoing.
WA Police were unable to confirm why officers were searching the property.
“Child Abuse Squad detectives are in Broome as part of an ongoing investigation into historic child sex offences,” a police spokeswoman said.
In 2020, Bishop Saunders voluntarily stood down after it was revealed he had been at the centre of an 18-month investigation by WA Police codenamed “Operation White Plane”.
But by May 2021, police and prosecutors did not press charges, claiming “insufficient evidence”.
Bishop Saunders had been working in the Broome diocese for almost 50 years.
In September, the Church confirmed it had provided a copy of the Vos Estis Lux Mundi report to Western Australian Police deputy commissioner Allan Adams, after a copy of the investigation report was leaked to the media.
WA Police told 7News last year that the Vatican investigation could lead them to consider re-opening the case.
Broome Bishop Christopher Saunders: Child abuse detectives raid home of Catholic Church leader (By Caleb Runciman, The West Australian)