Broome Bishop Christopher Saunders: Pope-ordered investigation alleges as many as 71 victims | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

A top-secret investigation ordered by the Pope into an Western Australian Bishop – the first of its kind in Australian history – has found he is likely to have sexually assaulted four youths while potentially grooming another 67.

The bombshell 200-page report also found that 73-year-old Bishop Christopher Saunders spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in church and charity funds to groom the young men.

A 7NEWS investigation exclusively obtained a copy of the final report that has been handed to the Vatican for action by Pope Francis.

The report was completed six months ago in April and sent to Rome – but no decision has yet been made on the future of the former Bishop of Broome.

Only a Pope can appoint a Bishop – and only a Pope can de-frock one.

Since the acquittal of Cardinal George Pell in the High Court in 2020, Saunders has become the highest-ranked Catholic in the country to face a sex crimes investigation.

It’s believed Bishop Saunders may be the highest-ranked official of any religion in Australia to face such serious accusations.

The report makes an astonishing number of findings against Bishop Saunders, who had been working in the Broome diocese for almost 50 years.

“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 acts were identified.

Camera IconBishop of Broome Christopher Saunders. Credit: unknown/Supplied

“67 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 claims the alleged offences date back 50 years — to the time when the clergyman was newly-ordained and first working as a priest in Sydney.

“One additional man was identified through the Church’s National Redress Scheme as being an alleged victim of Bishop Saunders while (he) was a parish priest at Clovelly in 1976.”

Saunders was ordained as a priest in 1976 and moved full-time to the Kimberley region. He became a Bishop in 1996.

The report claims he had developed a “modus operandi” of grooming vulnerable young Aboriginal males by plying them with alcohol, cash, phones, phone credit, hotels, air and bus travel.

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