Australian bishop ‘stood aside’ amid police probe

SYDNEY: One of Australia’s longest-serving Catholic bishops “stood aside” Wednesday amid reports of a police investigation into alleged sex offences.

Bishop Christopher Saunders, who ran the diocese of Broome on the country’s west coast, was said to have voluntarily stood aside, with the archbishop of Perth issuing a statement announcing the move.

The decision had been made due to “the particular situation in the Diocese of Broome and concerned for the pastoral care of the clergy, religious and laity of the Diocese”, Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe said in a statement.

Reports by broadcaster Seven News said police were investigating several serious allegations against Saunders, including sex offences against two young men.