An investigation ordered by the Vatican has revealed that a former Bishop of Broome in WA’s Kimberly region likely sexually assaulted four Aboriginal boys and young men and groomed dozens more.
The Seven Network and The Australian Newspaper is reporting Christopher Saunders hosted “bunga bunga” parties at church properties and spent thousands of dollars of church money on cash payments, mobile phones, alcohol and cigarettes.
The Bishop has denied any allegations and has not been charged by WA police but did resign after sexual misconduct and bullying accusations were brought forward.
The 200-page Vos Estis Lux Mundi investigation, the first of it’s kind in Australia, found 67 Aboriginal boys and young men who may have been subjected to sexual assault or grooming by the bishop.
A copy of the report obtained by 7 News outlines the extent of Saunders alleged misconduct.
“The Bishop has been variously described by witnesses as… a sexual predator that seeks to prey upon vulnerable Aboriginal men and boys,” the report states.
“During the investigation, four victims of sexual (delictual) acts were identified.
“Sixty-seven additional Aboriginal boys and men were also identified as persons that may have been subjected to delictual acts or grooming behaviours by Bishop Saunders.”
It’s believed that Saunders may be the highest ranked official of any religious organisation in Australia to face accusations on this scale.
The Vos Estis Inquiry was led by two former WA police detectives, who identified a total of 102 witnesses, and offiaclly interviewed 30.
It’s believed that there has only been seven Vos Estis Inquires world wide since the policy was championed by the pope in 2019, with the remaining six inquiries taking place in the United States.
The report also outlines that the church community that stood behind Saunders and condoned his actions have either “lost their jobs, lost their faith or suffered psychological and reputational damage.”
Image Credit: AAP/Paul Miller